Like many people who suffer from depression, addiction and other brain disorders that often lead to suicide, Robin Williams employed a happy facade to mask his torment. He was just better at it than most.

But even his comedic genius could not spare him. Mr. Williams' suicide this week is a reminder of the grim and often silent toll of suicide.

As Matthew Harper of Forbes noted, Mr. Williams' suicide came as a shock largely due to his professional prowess. Not only was he a gifted and prolific comedian who brought people to tears through laughter, but he was an accomplished actor who often played life-affirming roles in films such as "Dead Poets' Society" and "Goodwill Hunting."

The other surprise was Mr. Williams was 63 and had appeared to vanquish his demons. But suicide is a problem across all age groups and is most prevalent among men between 45 and 59, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr. Williams' death is a reminder of the need for vigilance regarding those most at risk. The CDC recommends taking seriously anyone's talk of suicide or erratic behavior, and seeking help through a variety of resources, including at recovery.