PIONEER SQUARE -- Seattle comedian James Milton never met Robin Williams. But news of the great comedian's death spread quickly Monday, down into the basement of the Comedy Underground where Milton has taken the stage for 8 years now.

He was fearless. He took a lot of risks, Milton said. He wasn t afraid to do something new and take a chance.

Williams made Milton laugh through so many years: from Good Morning Vietnam to Mrs. Doubtfire.

I remember watching his specials, he remembered with a smile. He s a genius. He s one of the greatest comedic forces over the past 30 years at least.

But now, the conversation in living rooms and stand-up venues across the country turns to how a life that brought such a bright spot ended so darkly.

I think there s something to the creative spirit that also has some self-destructive elements to it, Milton said.

He wonders if other artists will be able to eventually explain that.

I don t think anyone does know, Milton said. If we knew maybe we could do more to help these people who are the giants in our field.

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