While covering Robin Williams' apparent suicide last night, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith insinuated that the comedian's death was cowardly. Today, he clarified the comment during an interview with TVNewser.
His original comments from last night's broadcast were as follows: "It's hard to imagine, isn't it? You could love three little things so much, watch them grow, they're in their mid-20s, and they're inspiring you, and exciting you, and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known.
"And yet, something inside you is so horrible or you're such a coward or whatever the reason that you decide that you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today."
Williams had three children: Zelda, Cody and Zachary.
Smith clarified his comments to TVNewser
, saying, "The last thing I would ever suggest about a man I know nothing about personally, is that he's a coward. That goes against everything I am. If those words, I used so innocently, offended his family, from the bottom of my heart, I could not be more sorry."
Smith also spoke to Mediaite
, saying, "I spent an entire hour talking about how much this man affected people's lives and brought greatness to this world. I was just wondering aloud what could have made this man want to end it all. And it reminds us that we all have responsibility as friends and neighbors to help take responsibility to prevent this from happening. There are people who process suicide as a black-and white-issue. I don't process anything as black-and-white.
"I was sorry to read online the people who see the world in a black-and-white way, and to suggest that they might have a definitive analysis of why he did such a thing. What I wanted to do is celebrate his life and find some meaning in our own lives, since we often do know someone who is reaching out, and we have a responsibility to help that person -- maybe a phone call or a door knock is in order.
"But no matter how you process it: Look at what this family is going through. I would never presume to know anything about his private life. And if any of his family members and friends were to have seen me use the word 'coward,' I would be horrified. I would just to apologize to the end of the earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward.
"To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I'm so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry."
According to the Marin County Sheriff's Office, Williams' death on Monday was due to asphyxia caused by the late actor hanging himself with a belt. He was 63.
In a statement released to ET, the actor's rep said, "[Williams] has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."