Robin Williams’ ex-wife breaks silence, while San Francisco Pinoys mourns

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

August 13, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Bay Area was home for Robin Williams.

He was a longtime resident in this Seacliff neighborhood mansion where fans have also come to bring flowers.

San Franciscans remember Williams giving out candy to children who visited his home during Halloween.

Williams lived here with his half Filipino, half Finnish wife Marsha Garces. They had two children but divorced in 2010 after 19 years of marriage.

Almost going 48 hours without any public response since her ex-husband’s death, Garces finally broke her silence in a statement through publicist Rachel Karten.

She says, “My heart is split wide open and scattered over the planet with all of you. Please remember the gentle, loving, generous — and yes, brilliant and funny — man that was Robin Williams. My arms are wrapped around our children as we attempt to grapple with celebrating the man we love, while dealing with this immeasurable loss.”

Other Filipinos in the Bay Area knew they had an amazing actor and hilarious comedian living in their backyard.

Fans have also gathered at the corner of Steiner and Broadway which was the location for Williams’ 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire” to pay their respects to the late actor.

20-year-old James Lacanlale from San Francisco said, “I think it’s amazing that one death can bring a whole community together, and it shows which fans are loyal.”

19-year-old Florence Mejia from Daly City said, “I just felt like part of Genie died, and it’s just sad because Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, and it’s just heartbreaking.”

28-year-old Fil-Am Leo Mariveles looks on at the memorial and still cannot believe that Williams is gone.

“I grew up with Robin Williams movies: Mrs. Doubtfire, I’m a big fan of Flubber, Jumanji,” said Mariveles. “This is probably the first celebrity death that hits home because he’s from San Francisco.”

Mariveles never thought that a man who could bring so much joy, could be full of so much pain.

Police say Williams hanged himself in his Tiburon home on Monday. He was discovered by his personal assistant in his bedroom unresponsive with a belt secured around his neck.

“At first I was kind of shocked because I didn’t really believe it, and then to find out he was severely depressed, and the way he died,” said Mariveles. “It’s really sad because he brought joy to millions of fans, millions of people, and he couldn’t even find his own happiness because he was that depressed, and it makes it even sadder.”

Everyone from bike riders to tourists and even people from the neighborhood have come to pay their respects.

San Franciscans say they not only lost a comedic icon but more importantly they lost a beloved neighbor.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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