There didn't seem to be much that Robin Williams couldn't do. He spent a career entertaining us – making us laugh in "The Birdcage" … moving us in his Oscar-winning role in "Good Will Hunting."
Williams used humor to bring others happiness, which made it all the more heartbreaking when the world learned of his apparent suicide at age 63. His publicist issued a statement saying Williams "has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss."
Yahoo News and Finance anchor Bianna Golodryga spoke with mental health expert Dr. Jeff Gardere explains that depression and substance abuse among performers is more common than one may think, and Williams was no exception. "He was a lifelong addict. It's a lifelong illness that you take a day at a time … this is a medical problem, and we have stop seeing people who have drug addiction as evil, bad, weak people," says Gardere.
Golodryga also spoke with Jamie Masada, founder of the Laugh Factory and a long-time friend of Williams. Masada works with many legendary comedians and knows firsthand the troubles some face off-stage. "He's genuinely, genuinely one of those guys, such a high energy, we would never figure out anything. He would never let anybody get inside to know what was going on," says Masada. "They don't want to talk about their problems. They always want to make people laugh." In 2011, Masada, with the help of psychologist Ildiko Tabori, started providing onsite therapy for performers at the Laugh Factory to help them cope with the highs and lows that often come with being an entertainer.