Heath Ledger was found dead in his Lower Manhattan apartment on Tuesday. He was 28. The Australian-born actor was nominated for an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. In 2005, he met Michelle Williams during the filming of the drama. The two had lived in Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, but split up last year.
There was no obvious indication that Ledger had committed suicide, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
Ledger had an appointment for a massage at the SoHo apartment, Browne said. The massage therapist and a housekeeper found his naked body in the bed at about 3:30 p.m. They tried to revive him, but he was already dead.
“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.”
An autopsy was planned for Wednesday, medical examiner’s office spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.
Ledger appears as The Joker in Warner Bros.’ highly-anticipated summer 2008 comic book adaptation, The Dark Knight. Alan Horn, President and COO of Warner Bros. and Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group made the following statement:
“The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. The entertainment community has lost an enormous talent. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
Heath’s father, Kim Ledger, released the following statement on Australian television:
We, Heath’s family, confirm, the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda. He was found peacefully asleep in his New York apartment by his housekeeper at 3:30 p.m. U.S. time.
We would like to thank our friends and everyone around the world for their well wishes and kind thoughts at this time. Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life but few had the pleasure of truly knowing him.
He was a down to earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving and selfless individual who was extremely inspirational to many. Please now respect our families need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately.