Heath Ledger found dead in NYC at age 28
Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan apartment, naked in bed with sleeping pills nearby. The Australian-born actor was 28. The reason was not clear yet.
He had an appointment for a massage at a residence in the tony neighborhood of SoHo, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. A housekeeper who went to let him know the massage therapist had arrived found him dead at 3:26 p.m.
"We are all deeply saddened and shocked by this accident," Ledger's publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement Tuesday night. "This is an extremely difficult time for his loved ones and we are asking the media to please respect the family's privacy and avoid speculation until the facts are known."
The medical examiner's office planned an autopsy Wednesday, spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.
Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain," where he met Michelle Williams, who played his wife in the film. The two had a daughter, Matilda, and lived together in Brooklyn until they split up last year.
Ledger most recently appeared in "I'm Not There," in which he played one of the many incarnations of Bob Dylan.
He's had starring roles in "A Knight's Tale" and "The Patriot," and played the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in "Monster's Ball."
"I had such great hope for him," said Mel Gibson, who played Ledger's father in "The Patriot," in a statement. "He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss."
Ledger was born in 1979 in Perth, in western Australia, to a mining engineer and a French teacher, and got his first acting role playing Peter Pan at age 10 at a local theater company.