Conan O'Brien had the unfortunate responsibility of announcing Robin Williams' death to his studio audience Monday. As guest Will Arnett and sidekick Andy Richter sat nearby, the Conan host told the crowd, "We tape these shows a few hours early, and by the time you see this now on TV, I'm sure that you'll know. This is unusual and upsetting, but we got some news during the show that Robin Williams has passed away," he said. As the gallery gasped, he said, "I'm sorry to anyone in our studio audience that I'm breaking this news. This is absolutely shocking and horrifying, and so upsetting on every level."
"We're at the end of the show and it felt like we just needed to acknowledge [Williams' death]," he explained. "Obviously, we don't know much yet. We know that this has happened and we're absolutely stunned to get this news. I know that everybody here, we've all worked with Robin over the years."
Hours earlier, Williams was found dead at his California home from an apparent suicide.
O'Brien, 51, Arnett, 44, and Richter, 47, each shared memories of the beloved comedian, 63. "He was an amazingly kind and generous person and it's got to be a terrible time for his family, and our thoughts go out to his family," said Richter. Arnett, who co-starred with Williams in RV, added, "As funny as he was—he's truly one of the all time greats—he was even better as a person. He was even more fantastic. He was one of the loveliest and sweetest and kindest guys I've ever worked with. Just such a soft, warm, emotionally sweet guy. It's a major, major loss for everybody. Like Andy said...it's a terrible tragedy."
An emotional O'Brien followed Richter and Arnett, saying, "We're just processing this information literally right at this moment, and so we are thinking of Robin's family. We're thinking about everybody who he touched around the world, throughout his life. And we're thinking about Robin tonight. There's really not much else to say." He ended the show with a simple message: "God bless Robin Williams."
Seth Meyers, 40, didn't address Williams' death on NBC's Late Night (he will honor him during Tuesday's show), but he did speak about the Good Will Hunting actor during a BuzzFeed Brews event with CBS This Morning. "I never worked with him. I was lucky enough to meet him," the TV host recalled. "The times I met him, he stopped by UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] one time, he did a cameo on SNL another time, and he was really lovely. It's really sad. It's really heartbreaking. It happened during the show tonight or else we would have said something beforehand." Meyers added that the Mrs. Doubtfire star "was such an important person to myself and a lot of the people who work on my show, to everyone in comedy."
Several other comedians, including Jay Leno and Joan Rivers, released statements to honor their late friend and colleague. "I saw him onstage the very first time he auditioned at the Improv in Los Angeles, and we have been friends ever since," the former Tonight Show host, 64, recalled. "It's a very sad day."
"Everyone remembers him as a brilliant comedian but he was much more than that," E!'s Fashion Police host Rivers, 82, said Monday night. "He was an extraordinary actor and very generous in spirit. I cannot remember a time that we were together that he didn't make me genuinely laugh. He was one of the nice guys. I wish I had been closer to tell him what I learned the hard way...that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary unhappiness. I really, really liked him. It makes me very, very sad."
To read more of Hollywood's tributes to Williams, click here.
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If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).