08/19/2014 08:27 EDT | Updated 08/20/2014 01:59 EDT

David Letterman's Robin Williams Tribute Celebrates Duo's 38-Year Friendship

A week after news of American actor and comedian Robin Williams’ death rippled through Hollywood, “Late Show” host David Letterman aired his own tribute to his late friend on Monday.

Before the two comedians found fame, they met at a West Hollywood comedy club where “for some reason, in the beginning [Williams] was introduced as being from Scotland,” Letterman recalled about their first encounter 38 years ago.

The talk show host said he and his comedy pals kept their distance at first, intimidated by the breadth of Williams’ talent and electrifying stage presence.

“We go home at night and are writing our little jokes about stuff and this guy comes in – and we’re like, you know, morning dew – he comes in like a hurricane. And now the longer he was on stage, the worst we feel about ourselves,” Letterman said. “You thought, ‘Holy crap, there goes my chance at show businesses, because of this guy from Scotland.’”

Williams was found dead in his home on Monday. He had been suffering from anxiety, severe depression, and was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

“I had no idea that the man was in pain, that the man was suffering,” Letterman added in closing. “But what a guy.”

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