Rigor mortis was found already present in the body of former “Happy Days” actor Robin Williams, the Los Angeles Times is reporting today. Police officers were dispatched to the home of comedian Robin Williams after receiving a phone call from a person identified as his personal assistant contacted 911 emergency operators.
As reported earlier by the Inquisitr, Robin Williams’ personal assistant told dispatchers that the body of an unconscious male was present at 95 Saint Thomas Way in Tiburon, California. The assistant also stated that the emergency appeared to be a “suicide due to a hanging,” and that “rigor mortis had set in.”
When officers responded to the death scene, they found the body of Robin Williams cool and stiff to the touch, confirming the assistant’s conclusions that rigor mortis and liver mortis had set in. Officers also found Williams with a belt around his neck and his shoulder touching the door. “He was cool to the touch with rigor mortis present in his body and liver mortis positioned appropriately for the position he was located in,” stated Lt. Keith Boyd. The death appears to be a suicide by hanging, according to CBS-Los Angeles.
Rigor Mortis, a Latin word coined in the 19th century, is a term used to describe rigidity or stiffness of the body after a death has occurred. Stiffness is usually detected in a dead body from 1 to 3 hours after a person is deceased, with full rigor mortis developing 9 to 12 hours after a person is dead.
Certain circumstances speed up the onset of rigor mortis, such as a high fever or strenuous physical activity prior to the death. Rigor Mortis usually begins to set in to the jaw and upper and lower extremities first, according to the book Death Scene Investigation: A Field Guide by Scott A. Wagner. Rigor mortis can be broken once rigor passes or until a joint is forcibly moved to break the rigor mortis. When Hollywood celebrity Marilyn Monroe died, her stomach was nearly empty and rigor mortis had already set in, according to the book Marilyn Monroe: A Case for Murder by Jay Margolis.
In popular culture, the term rigor mortis has been used in the title of a song by the 1970’s and 1980’s funk group Cameo. In 1983, a thrash musical group formed under the name Rigor Mortis, and director Juno Mak’s movie Rigor Mortis was released in 2013.