Heath Ledger dies of suspected drugs overdose
Heath Ledger has been found dead in a New York apartment after a suspected drugs overdose.
The 28-year-old had reportedly been battling an addiction to drugs for some time, and even received treatment in rehab for his problem late last year.
A housekeeper at Ledger’s apartment found him lying face down on a bed at 3.20pm on Tuesday afternoon – it is understood that, at this point, the actor was still alive but unconscious. Gossip website tmz.com reported that the actor was in cardiac arrest when emergency services arrived on the scene.
A police spokeswoman said: ‘He was found unconscious at the apartment and pronounced dead.’
She also said that sleeping pills – both prescription medication and non-prescription – were found in the vicinity of Heath’s body, and that they are treating his death as possible suicide or an accidental overdose. A full autopsy will be carried out today.
Ledger, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Brokeback Mountain, has a two-year-old daughter Matilda with his ex-fiancée Michelle Williams. The pair split last September, and it is said that Heath was coping badly with the breakdown of their relationship.
One source told the Daily Mail: ‘Heath was shattered by his split from Michelle. He became a recluse. He barely slept and he was dealing with terrible mood swings.’
Another source revealed: ‘Heath totally wanted to be on his own these past few months since he and Michelle split in September. She was very much in love with him, but the fact he continued to dabble in drugs kept their relationship from being one she could rely on.
‘He adored his daughter Matilda, and when Michelle called it quits, he missed Matilda so much that he was thrown into a deep dark depression.
‘Heath was living in New York to be close to his daughter. But he hardly ever ventured out anymore.’
He added: ‘His close friend and Brokeback co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal, has been worried about him for months. And he knew Heath was sinking further into a depression. Jake is Matilda’s godfather, and he and Heath had become really close since they did the film Brokeback together.
‘Jake wanted Heath to get help, but he refused, and now it looks as though he may have died of a drug overdose.
‘Michelle will be devastated by the news, because she always hoped he would get help and they could manage to work out their relationship for the sake of their daughter.’
Other actors have already been paying their respects. Nicole Kidman, best friend of his ex-girlfiend Naomi Watts, said: ‘What a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to Heath’s family.’ And his The Patriot co-star, Mel Gibson, said: ‘I had such great hope for him. He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.’
Ledger was in the middle of filming the Terry Gilliam movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death, and can currently be seen on-screen as Bob Dylan, alongside Cate Blanchett and Richard Gere.
As well as his parents and daughter Matilda, the Perth-born actor is also survived by his sister Katherine, and half-sisters Olivia Ledger and Ashleigh Bell.
To see Heath’s family speak out about their son’s death, click here.
The father of Heath’s ex-girlfriend, Michelle Williams, Larry has released a statement saying: ‘I think Tennyson got it right in the poem when he described someone as having died at a young age but burning the candles at both ends, and oh what a beautiful flame he made, that was Heath, what a beautiful flame he made and a great talent. My heart goes out to everyone in his family and my family. The saddest thing is his daughter whom he just loved dearly.’