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Sarah Michelle Gellar, Conan O'Brien pay tribute to Robin Williams

By Steve Almasy, CNN
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 2059 GMT (0459 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar calls Robin Williams the father she always "dreamed of having"
  • Conan O'Brien stops his show to pay tribute to late comedian
  • Other stars take to Twitter to mourn his death

(CNN) -- Robin Williams delighted fans with his off-the-wall, high-energy comedy that took unexpected turn after unexpected turn.

He was a comedic inspiration for many performers, but he also was a brilliant dramatic actor on stage and on the big screen.

Robin Williams' beloved movie characters
Robin Williams: 9 memorable moments

Those who worked with him knew him to be a genius and the rarest of talents. After news of his shocking death spread, his friends and professional admirers expressed their love for the man Steve Martin called a "great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."

Larry King: Williams was one-of-a-kind

For Sarah Michelle Gellar, who co-starred with Williams in the CBS comedy "The Crazy Ones," he was the father figure she'd always "dreamed of having."

"My life is a better place because I knew Robin Williams," the 37-year-old actress said in a statement to People magazine. "The Crazy Ones" only lasted for a season, but it was more than enough time for the pair who played a father and daughter onscreen to form a similar bond off the set.

To Gellar's two children with actor Freddie Prinze Jr., Williams was "Uncle Robin," the actress said. "To everyone he worked with, he was the best boss anyone had ever known, and to me he was not just an inspiration but he was the father I had always dreamed of having." (It's been reported that Gellar was estranged from her biological father.)

On Twitter on Monday, Gellar joined the wave of those sharing their grief and memories, posting a series of photos of herself with her former co-star.

"There are not enough adjectives to describe the light he was, to anyone that ever had the pleasure to meet him," she told People. "I will miss him everyday, but I know the memory of him will live on. And to his family, I thank them for letting us know him and seeing the joy they brought him. Us crazy ones love you."

Complete coverage on Robin Williams

When Conan O'Brien heard the news, he was near the end of taping Monday's edition of "Conan" with Will Arnett.

"This is unusual and upsetting, but we got some news during the show that Robin Williams has passed away," O'Brien said, apologizing to those in the studio audience who were hearing the news for the first time. "This is absolutely shocking, and horrifying, and so upsetting on every level. ... and it felt like we just needed to acknowledge. We're absolutely stunned."

Chimed in Arnett, "As funny as he was, he's truly one of the all-time greats, he was even better as a person. He was even more fantastic. One of the loveliest, sweetest, kindest guys I've ever worked with. ... It's a major, major loss for everybody."

As he closed the show, O'Brien said, "We're thinking of Robin's family. We're thinking about everybody who he touched around the world, throughout his life. We're thinking about Robin tonight."

As were several. Below is just a sampling of the thoughts shared in light of Williams' death.

See more comedy content at CNN Comedy.

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CNN's Chandler Friedman, Henry Hanks, Topher Gauk-Roger and Breeanna Hare contributed to this report.

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