The deputy chief coroner who presided over Robin Williams' autopsy has defended his decision to go public with details about the star's death following a backlash from critics.
The 63-year-old Oscar winner was found dead after he hanged himself in his home in Marin County, California on Monday (11Aug14).
Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Coroner Keith Boyd gave a press conference on Tuesday (12Aug14) to give details about the circumstances surrounding the actor's death, revealing Williams' personal assistant discovered the body. Boyd also confirmed the Mrs. Doubtfire star had hanged himself with a belt, and that a number of cuts had been found on his left wrist.
Following the press conference, which was shown on TV and streamed online, many fans criticised Boyd for releasing such specific details about the tragedy. However, Boyd has now defended his decision in a statement which reads: "The Sheriff's Office understands how the release of the kind of information you heard... may be viewed as disturbing by some, and as unnecessary by others, but under California law, all that information is considered 'public information' and we are precluded from denying access to it.
These kinds of cases, whether they garner national attention or not, are very difficult for everyone involved. "Frankly, it would have been our personal preference to withhold a lot of what we disclosed to the press... but the California Public Records Act does not give us that kind of latitude. For the same reasons, we will likely be required to release to the media the 911 phone call we received from Mr. Williams' residence and the fire dispatch tapes that resulted as well..."
A private memorial is currently being planned for Williams by his wife Susan Schneider, according to E! News.
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Early autopsy results have concluded tragic actor Robin Williams died from "asphyxia due to hanging".
The Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting star's body was discovered in a room at his home in Tiburon, California on Monday morning (11Aug14). His publicist Mara Buxbaum confirmed the comedian, who had spent years dealing with drug and alcohol issues, had been battling "severe depression of late" and had been receiving treatment weeks after checking into the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota to focus on maintaining his sobriety.
A forensic examination was performed on Williams' remains on Tuesday morning (12Aug14) and at a press conference held shortly afterwards, Lieutenant Keith Boyd, Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner for Marin County, revealed the 63-year-old had hanged himself with a belt.
He explained, "Mr. Williams' personal assistant became concerned at approximately 11.45am (on Monday) when he failed to respond to knocks on his bedroom door. "At that time, the personal assistant was able to gain access to Mr. Williams' bedroom, and entered the bedroom to find Mr. Williams clothed, in a seated position, unresponsive, with a belt secured around his neck with the other end of the belt wedged between the clothes closet door and the door frame..."
Police investigating his death noted "several acute, superficial, transverse cuts" on his left wrist, while a pocket knife "with a closed blade" was also found nearby.
The case is being treated as a suicide. Toxicology results are pending and are expected to be revealed within two to six weeks. Lieutenant Boyd declined to discuss whether a suicide note was found at the scene.
Two men accused of stealing the roof from the burned-out Porsche actor Paul Walker was a passenger in at the time of his death last year (13) have pleaded no contest to misdemeanour charges of destroying evidence, grand theft and resisting or delaying a police officer. Jameson Brooks Witty, 18, and Anthony Edward Janow, 26, face up to six months behind bars.
They stand accused of stealing the roof panel from a tow truck carrying the destroyed Porsche Carrera GT, which had burst into flames after it crashed into a post in Santa Clarita, California.
The two men had even been told by a sheriff's deputy that they couldn't take any vehicle parts.
Witty is due back in court for sentencing on 14 August (14), Janow on 23 October (14).
The Fast & Furious star Walker died from a combination of traumatic injuries and burns in the accident.
Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is contesting the will of the late anti-apartheid hero in a bid to claim the country estate where he is buried. Relatives of the South African political icon have been bickering over his estate since his death in December (13), and Mandela's second wife is now insisting ownership of his country home should pass to her family.
Madikizela-Mandela, who married the civil rights activist in 1958 and divorced him in 1996, claims the property in Qunu should belong to her and her children because she bought it in 1989, during her then husband's imprisonment on Robben Island.
Her lawyer has addressed her claim in a letter to South Africa's Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Madikizela-Mandela was left nothing in her ex-husband's will and his $4.1 million (£2.4 million) estate is to be split between his family, the African National Congress party, former staff and a number of schools.
Mandela was laid to rest in Qunu in December with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker and British royal Charles, Prince of Wales in attendance.
A Canadian musical festival featuring performances from Calvin Harris and Iggy Azalea ended in tragedy over the weekend (02-03Aug14), when two people died from drug overdoses and 13 others were hospitalised for substance abuse-related ailments. Police have launched an investigation into the passing of a 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman, who were pronounced dead after reportedly ingesting "party drugs" at The Veld music festival at Toronto's Downsview Park.
Toronto Police Deputy Chief Mark Saunders says, "Out of the 15, two have succumbed and died as a result of ingesting what we believe to be party drugs which were purchased at the Veld music festival. People are saying it could be MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), it could be ecstasy, it could be GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate)... People are dying because they are ingesting this drug. We want to find that drug, we want to find out exactly what it is.
"If anyone you know was at that festival and you have concerns for their behaviour or how they are acting right now, or if they are in any kind of distress, it is important that they go to the hospital immediately and seek medical attention."
The event also included sets by dance star Armin Van Buuren and rapper Waka Flocka Flame.
Emma Watson has joined a campaign set up by Turkish women to rebel against a politician who branded females "indecent" for laughing in public. Earlier this week (begs28Jul14), the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc insisted honest women should not laugh in public because it is disgusting.
Females staged a protest on Twitter.com, setting up a campaign with the hashtag #DirenKahkaha, which translates to Resist Laugh, and posted pictures of themselves laughing in open spaces.
Watson, an ambassador for United Nations women, joined in on Thursday (31Jul14) and shared a picture of herself having a giggle at an outdoor restaurant. It has been reposted more than 15,000 times.
Actor/rapper Ll Cool J and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons paid a visit to inmates at a New York jail as they launched an anti-violence program for local youths. The pair visited New York City's famous Rikers Island on Thursday (31Jul14) to promote Simmons' new Keep the Peace initiative, which provides grants to neighbourhood organisations.
Among those charities is LIFE Camp, a Queens-based organisation which works with youths, including inmates at Rikers, to reduce violence.
Both LL Cool J and Simmons gave inspirational speeches to the prisoners, with LL even noting his rough upbringing could have landed him in prison if he had not chosen to pursue a music career.
Rikers' Deputy Warden Clement Glenn tells Billboard.com that by partnering with organisations such as LIFE Camp, they hope young inmates will change their behaviour and "encourage them not to come back into the system, hoping they will integrate into society and become contributing members of their community".
British Olympic diver Tom Daley has topped gay magazine Attitude's Hot 100 Sexiest Men list for the second consecutive year, seven months after 'coming out' as a homosexual. The 20-year-old sportsman, who is dating Hollywood screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, was unveiled as the publication's new cover star at its annual summer party in London on Wednesday (16Jul14).
Daley beats former The X Factor U.K. winner Shayne Ward to claim the title, while acting hunk Zac Efron places third, just ahead of soccer stud David Beckham and British reality star Dan Osborne in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Andrew Fraser, Attitude's Deputy Editor, says, "It's been a big year for Tom Daley. When he made his very moving and personal video last year, where he revealed his relationship with Dustin Lance Black, he not only changed his own life, but will have helped change the lives of countless other young gay people who are starved of role models in the world of film, TV and sport."
In the accompanying interview, Daley admits he would like to pursue a career as a TV presenter once he retires from diving, and opens up about settling down in the near future, saying, "Family is something that has always been really important to me and yes, at some point I would love to marry and have kids."
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Whether you loved the way it neatly wrapped things up or hated the cheesy fairy tale ending it gave the series, the epilogue to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been, for the most part, the only real glimpse that fans got at the lives of Harry, Ron, and Hermione after their time at Hogwarts concluded. Though many have been able to get their fix of the Wizarding World through the snippets that J.K. Rowling has posted on Pottermore, she's been silent on the fate of the Golden Trio and the rest of Dumbledore's Army... until Tuesday morning, that is. In honor of the Quidditch World Cup — which conveniently coincides with the muggle world's World Cup — the author has released a series of short stories and mock articles about the game, its history, and now its famous spectators.
But while the always reliable Rita Skeeter has filled us in on what Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny have been up to in the years since school (working as an Auror, helping George run Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, working up the ranks in the Ministry, and becoming a Quidditch reporter, respectively), there are still so many more characters whose fates were not addressed. In fact, Rita's article brings up more questions than answers, since everything it reveals leaves us wanting to know more about the Wizarding World. On the off chance that Rowling is looking for inspiration for another Pottermore update, we'd recommend she start by tackling some of these burning questions:
Where’s Draco Malfoy? We don’t expect Draco to be hanging out with Dumbledore’s Army any more now than he did when they were all at Hogwarts, but does Rowling really expect us to believe that he would pass up any opportunity to swan around a VIP area and brag about his success, real or exaggerated? Surely, if everyone were gathering at the World Cup, he would be there, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle and ready to start a fight, just as he always was. Draco Malfoy never shies away from a potential spotlight.
Did Lee Jordan Ever Make It as a Quidditch Announcer? Perhaps the greatest sports announcers – real or fictional – of all time, Lee Jordan had a gift for adding color and sass to even the most boring of calls, and even if Professor McGonagall didn’t appreciate his admittedly biased reporting, readers certainly did. It’s hard to imagine a career that suits the Weasley twins’ former partner-in-crime better.
How Does Rita Have Trouble Telling the Weasley Boys Apart? They might all have red hair, freckles and hand-me-down clothes, but all of the Weasley boys are distinct entities, and if she’s already got Ron and Bill down, it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to figure out the other three. Here’s a cheat sheet: if he looks self-important, slightly nerdy, and wears glasses, it’s Percy; if he’s ruggedly handsome and desert-worn, it’s Charlie, and if he has one ear, is constantly joking around and seems like there should be another one of him standing right there, it’s George.
Has Luna Mellowed Out Since School? Rita seems intrigued by Luna’s World Cup outfit, but we’re a little disappointed by it. What happened to the elaborate roaring lion’s head she broke out for a Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match in the sixth book? Where are her radish earrings or her Spectrespecs or her colorful shoes? This is the tamest Luna costume we’ve seen, and it makes us a bit worried that she’s lost some of her unique, spacey edge.
What Did Hannah Abbott Do Before She Married Neville? The epilogue revealed a bit about what the other potential Boy Who Lived has been up to since school has ended, but we know next to nothing about the new Mrs. Longbottom. What were her school years like? What did she get her OWLs in? How did she and Neville meet and fall in love? How long have they been married? What did she do for work before deciding to become a Healer and move to Hogwarts with Neville? Forget the Marauders; we want to hear a lot more about Neville and Hannah.
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Where’s Angelina Johnson? There’s no way that the former Gryffindor Captain would let her husband George Weasley attend the Quidditch World Cup without her. After all, this is the one person who was as obsessed with the sport as Oliver Wood, who captained the team with a drive and determination that would have made even her predecessor request a day off. The only possibly explanation, therefore, is that she’s a Chaser on the English National Team and was getting ready for the match at the time Rita observed her friends.
Is Hagrid Still Working at Hogwarts? That mention of Neville and Hannah hoping to move to the school’s grounds reminded us of the only non-dormitory living quarters we’ve seen: Hagrid’s hut. So, naturally, we’re curious as to what the Wizarding World’s foremost foster parent to dangerous animals is up to now. Is he still working as the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds? Did he and Madame Maxime ever manage to work things out? Did he ever get his pet dragon? For the sake of everyone else on the Hogwarts grounds, we’re hoping the answer to that last one is still “no.”
Is Professor McGonagall Still Headmaster? She was, after all, the natural successor to Dumbledore. And more importantly, is she still the toughest, kindest, smartest, most sensible and admirable woman in the Wizarding World? Actually, we can just answer that one ourselves. She definitely is.
Who’s the Current Minister of Magic? We know that the Department of Magical Transportation falls under Percy’s jurisdiction, and that Hermione is, as expected, quickly working her way up the ranks at the Ministry, and is currently the Deputy Head of Magical Law Enforcement. But what we don’t know is who Hermione would potentially be outsing as Minister of Magic, should she ascend to the position. Last we heard, it was Kingsley Shacklebolt, but knowing the Wizarding World as well as we do, it’s entirely possible that power has changed hands since then.
Who Is Still Hiring Rita Skeeter as a Writer? Was the Daily Prophet so desperate for subscriptions that they kept her on? Or does the Wizarding World have its own version of TMZ, where Rita can write and publish all of the gossip her QuickQuotesQuill can possibly come up with? Is there a publication out there that could keep up with the sheer number of slander lawsuits she’s probably had filed against her?
Charlie Weasley Is Basically the Wizarding World’s Equivalent of George Clooney, Right? Handsome bachelor, more focused on his glamorous job than his love life, unlikely to settle down any time soon, but making people swoon everywhere he goes? All Charlie needs is a villa in Italy, and they’d be the exact same person.
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J.K. Rowling has sent Harry Potter fans into a spin by posting a story update online.
The author posted a 1,500-word article on her Pottermore.com website to give readers a glimpse into the adult lives of the main characters. Written in the style of a newspaper article by fictional journalist Rita Skeeter, the piece focuses on the grown-up goings-on of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in the film franchise.
Rowling tells fans her title character is in his 30s and has a "couple of threads of silver" in his black hair, while Granger is now Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Grint's character works at his brothers' company Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and his red hair is "thinning".
The article reveals Potter is married to his best friend's sister, Ginny Weasley, who is a journalist, and gives fans updates on their pals Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood.
The publication of the short story comes after it was revealed that Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is to be filmed at the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden site in England, where all the wizard movies were shot.
The final book in the Potter series was released in 2007, while the last film hit cinemas in 2011.