Robin Williams mourned in New Zealand

Last updated 18:41 12/08/2014

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All Black legend Jonah Lomu has tweeted a farewell to his friend Robin Williams, the comedian and film star found dead in California today.

Williams will be especially mourned in New Zealand, where he had friends in Lomu and actor Sam Neill.

Williams, who visited New Zealand on numerous occasions, was a friend of Lomu's after they met in 1996 when Williams gave him his personal Jumanji script.

"I'll treasure that forever and hand that down to my two boys," Lomu told 3News today.

Williams was one of the first "superstars" he befriended, Lomu said.

"Words can never express… what sort of a man he was. What you saw was what you got and … just a very charming and very beautiful, beautiful-hearted man."

Williams also delivered a personal video message when TVNZ featured Lomu on the show, This Is Your Life.

Williams co-starred with New Zealander Sam Neill in the movie Bicentennial Man.

He visited both friends when he came to New Zealand in 1999 to promote that movie, bringing wife Marsha and children Cody and Zelda along for the 11-day ride.

Neill said he was "stricken by hearing of Robin's death.

"He was one of the very few people you get to work with and know who had, without question, genius. Comedy, schtick simply poured out of him, unstoppable," he said. 

"But for all his ebullience - the man could fire up a room or a set like no other - you always felt there was something very tender and vulnerable about Robin. He was perhaps really only entirely happy with an audience. "

He had a real Kiwi adventure on his first trip to this country, planning mountainbiking, fly fishing and beach blobbing.
Christmas was spent in the South Island, where the family intended to visit Neill at his Queenstown vineyard.

Williams and Lomu met in San Francisco in 1998.

California police today released a statement saying the 63-year-old was pronounced dead at his home at 12.02pm local time.

The sheriff's office said a preliminary investigation shows the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.

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