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Actor Heath Ledger Is Dead

Jim Burroway

January 22nd, 2008

Heath Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger, Oscar-nominated actor of the groundbreaking film Brokeback Mountain, was found dead in a Lower Manhattan apartment. He was 28.

Ledger is survived by a young daughter, Matilda, with actress Michelle Williams, who played his wife in Brokeback Mountain.

Early reports indicate a possible drug overdose or suicide, although those reports have not been confirmed. He was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m.

Scene from Brokeback MountainHeath Ledger talked about why he chose to take the role of Ennis Del Mar, saying that he did it for his gay uncle, Australian tough guy Neil Bell:

Ledger said his uncle’s difficult early life and tough personal experiences helped him forge what is being acclaimed as one of the strongest and most emotionally powerful performances in recent cinema history.

“I had a dear friend of mine, who’s my uncle,” explained Ledger. “He’s a big guy. He goes to bare-knuckle fighting out in the Nevada desert, and he’s gay.”

As a young man, Bell was told to leave home by his father because of his sexuality and, many years later, he told Ledger of some of the painful events in his life.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
January 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Heath,

Your life was short but in that life you touched many hearts and opened many eyes with your work. May God welcome you.

Benton
January 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Wow.

I thought you were joking. That is really sad.

He will be missed.

Peterson Toscano
January 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Reading this was like getting a punch in the stomach. He was a fine actor not just in Brokeback but in so many films. I remember the depth he had in Monster’s Ball. And sad that we will not see the other work he would have done. This to me is the double tragedy of when an artist dies young. They leave behind loved ones but also work that never gets done.

cowboy
January 22nd, 2008 | LINK

I won’t quit you.

Mike Airhart
January 22nd, 2008 | LINK

I was shocked and saddened…

… but I disagree that the early reports indicate anything, despite efforts by the media to make them mean something.

There have been no reports of a suicide note; no reports of hard drugs, just prescription meds. Reports even differ as to whether the meds were located in any concentration or in scattered locations around the apartment.

As you noted, nothing has been confirmed.

Rob Lll
January 23rd, 2008 | LINK

A punch in the gut about sums it up. Just unbelievable, shocking, and terribly, terribly sad. A fine actor, a beautiful man, and by all accounts a genuinely nice guy. His performance in Brokeback Mountain touched people all over the world and as a filmgoer I’m so disappointed there won’t be more like it. But mostly I just feel for his family and loved ones — especially his daughter.

Benjamin Clark
January 24th, 2008 | LINK

I was shocked to learn about Heath’s passing and “a punch in the gut” is exactly how I would explain my feelings on this terrible event as well. That and frustration at the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any answer as to how this happened. Life feels even that much more fragile and short especially when someone so incredibly strong and young could be taken seemingly so easily. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

His performance in Brokeback Mountain and in The Patriot are my two favorites. I have yet to see the majority of Heath’s other works. I am so sad and so speechless about Heath’s death.

I have lost two of my favorite artists over the past month Heath Ledger and Dan Fogelberg who died of prostate cancer last December 16th. What a monumental life Dan had as well.

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