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Billy Crystal Gives Late Robin Williams a Moving Tribute at Emmys: 'His Spirit Will Eternally Glow'

( [email protected] ) Aug 26, 2014 12:09 PM EDT

A Close Friendship between Robin Williams and Billy Crystal
Robin Williams (left) pictured with good friend Billy Crystal (Right) (E. CHARBONNEAU/WIREIMAGE)

The brilliant comedian Robin Williams was remembered by his good friend Billy Crystal at the Emmy Awards held Monday night in a spiritual and uplifting tribute.

"It is very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in our lives," Crystal said about Williams, who was found dead on Aug. 11 in an apparent suicide at his northern California home at age 63.

"He made us laugh. Hard...He made us laugh big time...The brilliance was astounding...He could be funny anywhere," Crystal said during the "in memoriam" portion of the ceremony, which featured a heartfelt rendition of "Smile" performed by Sara Bareilles.

William's large, generous heart was also remembered by Crystal, who recalled the actor's many humanitarian efforts.

"He made us laugh. Hard. Every time you saw him. On television, movies, night clubs, arenas, hospitals, homeless shelters, for our troops overseas, and even in a dying girl's living room for her last wish."

Crystal also spoke of William's friendship, noting how the actor would often attend his family's functions.

"He was the greatest friend you could ever imagine - supportive, protective, loving," he said. "For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy."

On William's profound effect on millions around the world, Crystal said, "While some of the brightest of our celestial bodies are actually extinct now, their energy long since cool, but miraculously, because they float in the heavens so far away from the sound, their beautiful life will continue to shine on us forever."

In closing his tribute, Crystal noted that William's spirit will enterally glow: "And you'll think to yourself: Robin Williams, what a concept," he said.

Before a moment of silence held for Williams, clips of the actor's first appearance on the Tonight Show in 1981, his 1986 special A Night at the Met and other stand-up performances were played to the celebrities gathered at the Nokia Theatre L.A. in Los Angeles and viewers across the nation watching the biggest television awards show of the year. 

Known for his ability to skillfully play a variety of both comedic and serious roles, Williams won two Emmy awards in 1987 and 1988, for his roles in variety shows. He was nominated for the prestigious television award a total of eight times.