Australian actor Heath Ledger has been found dead in his New York apartment. According to police, his masseur arrived at his house in Soho this morning for an appointment, and was let in by his housekeeper.
They then entered the bedroom after getting no response, only to find Ledger unconscious on his bed. They immediately called the authorities, and the police have said they don’t suspect any foul play.
According to The New York Times, pills were found by Ledger’s body. An entry on the actor’s Wikipedia page was suggesting that a large quantity of heroin was also found, but the page has now been edited, and these rumours are unsubstantiated.
Ledger was only 28, and had a huge career ahead of him. He had already won huge critical acclaim for his role as a gay cowboy in 2005′s Brokeback Mountain. Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote at the time:
“Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.”
He also plays The Joker in the forthcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight, which is due out on July 18th. From the preview screenings and trailers, his portrayal of the evil character was already receiving appreciation and comments that he’d managed to outdo Jack Nicholson in the role.
Ledger’s personal life hasn’t been quite as happy as his on career though. He met actress Michelle Williams on the set of Brokeback Mountain, and they had a daughter together. Unfortunately, the couple split up last year.
At this time, Ledger’s agent and spokesman have failed to talk to the press, and so details of his death are still quite thin on the ground.
What is clear however, is that Hollywood, and the movie industry, has lost a great young actor today.