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Robin Williams' son Zak shares heartfelt tribute 7 years after his dad's death

“You lived to bring laughter and to help others.”
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Robin Williams died seven years ago, and to mark the anniversary of that sad occasion the beloved actor’s son, Zak Williams, posted a tribute in his memory.Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Seven years ago, on Aug. 11, 2014, the world lost one of the most beloved actors and comedians when big and small screen star Robin Williams died at the age of 63.

But it was a far greater and more intimate loss for Zak Williams, who lost his father that day.

On Wednesday, the 38-year-old memorialized the man who meant so much to so many.

“Dad, seven years ago today you passed on,” he tweeted along with a photo of his father. “The joy and inspiration you brought to the world carries on in your legacy and in your family, friends and fans you so loved. You lived to bring laughter and to help others. I will be celebrating your memory today. Love you forever.”

That message comes just weeks after the younger Williams shared another social media post in honor of his father’s life, on what would have been the Oscar winner’s 70th birthday.

“I would want you to know that your incredible spirit lives within us,” he wrote to his Instagram account on July 21. “Our family will be celebrating you and your memory today. We miss you and love you always!”

The “Good Will Hunting” star died by suicide while suffering from Lewy body dementia, and in May, his son, who’s a mental health advocate, opened up about how deeply that event affected his own mental health.

"I found myself extremely emotionally disregulated and feeling vulnerable and exposed when I wasn't ready to be vulnerable," he said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry for Apple TV’s “The Me You Can’t See.” "And that created a major challenge for me."

Because grieving for any loved one is a painful and difficult process, but in his case, it was also a confusing one as he struggled to process that grief in the spotlight.

"From my end, I didn't get a chance to focus on the private grieving process until about a year and a half after my dad passed away...” he added.

Zak Williams was the only child his father had with first wife Valerie Verlardi. The late star is also the father of another son, Cody Williams, 29, and a daughter, Zelda Williams, 32, from his marriage to second wife Marsha Garces.

And posthumously, in recent years he became a grandfather, twice over, as Zak and wife Olivia June have a 2-year-old son, McLaurin Clement, and a 2-month-old daughter, Zola June.

Last year, Williams opened up to TODAY on how was introducing his father's legacy to his son, something that he said was naturally happening in his home.

"I have slowly started showing photos and pictures to my son, things from movies and in animation that my dad was in," he explained. "... We have photos and memories around our home and he's drawn to them. And so when he sees the Genie from 'Aladdin' or when he sees a photo of his grandfather, he's drawn to it. And so we talk about it ... It's a nice way to carry on my dad's legacy related to our family history."

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to for additional resources.

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