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Batman's Joker Star Heath Ledger Dead at 28

Reported by Kristen - 2008.01.23

Source: New York Times

Actor Heath Ledger has died according to the New York Times. The actor was discovered by a housekeeper in an apartment at around 3:30 pm Eastern time.

Police are only saying that his death might have been drug related but that is all at this time. CNN is reporting that pills were found near the body.

Ledger recently finished playing the Joker in the new Batman film The Dark Knight and was recognized for his role in Brokeback Mountain.

Ledger has a young daughter with ex-wife Michelle Williams.

We will keep you posted on this story as more news becomes available.

We here at ENI send our thoughts to Ledger's friends and loved ones.

A quick thanks also goes out to Sam for sending us word on this tragic.

UPDATE: Last update 01/24/08 5.30 PM EST.

Heath Ledger's family and Hollywood friends will honour the tragic actor at a memorial service in Los Angeles this weekend (26-27Jan08).

According to New York police sources, Ledger's father Kim will jet to California with his son's body, after he arrives in Manhattan on Friday (25Jan08).

While in Los Angeles, Ledger's family are expected to attend a service, alongside a number of the Oscar-nominated star's contemporaries.

Sophie Ward, a friend of Ledger's and the sister of the actor's last known love interest Gemma Ward, reveals, "(The memorial) will be in LA, then he will be buried in Perth (in Australia)."

WENN reports that Heath Ledger's "The Dark Knight" co-star Chistian Bale insists the late star has one final shock in store for fans when he appears as comic book villain THE JOKER in the BATMAN BEGINS sequel.

In an interview given just before Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment on Tuesday (22Jan08), Bale told reporters the Aussie star would stun film fans with his dark portrayal as Batman's arch-villain in The Dark Knight. He said, "Heath's an incredible actor and he's brought a very, very scary Joker to life. It's shocking. He'll shock you. Heath will shock you."

$20 bill comes back clean according to CNN.

Police have said today that Ledger was found in a normal sleeping position on the bed.

A $20 bill has been sent off for testing that was found in the apartment because of the way it was folded.

CNN reports that the autopsy Wednesday morning on actor Heath Ledger was inconclusive, and a cause-of-death determination will take 10 to 14 days, a medical examiner's spokeswoman said.

WENN reports that Heath Ledger recently went public with his sleeping problems in a New York Times interview late last year (07). In a Times interview conducted in November (07), the troubled actor admitted his workaholic nature was keeping him awake at night. He said, "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going." Ledger revealed his work as clown-faced villain The Joker in Batman film The Dark Knight had left him physically and mentally drained. He told the Times he had taken sleeping medication Ambien in an effort to catch up with lost sleep, but it had failed to work on his exhausted mind.

It was reported on the Larry King show tonight on CNN, that they have learned from police that they do not think this death was not cause by suicide.

TMZ has learned Heath Ledger was sick with pneumonia when he died today in NY.

According to TMZ, Warner Bros. has issued 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."

TMZ reports that the apartment that Ledger was found in was NOT owned by Mary-Kate Olsen.

It appears the pills that were found near the actors bed are said to have been over-the-counter sleeping pills according to CNN.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, according to TMZ.com.

WENN reports the Australian Brokeback Mountain star, 28, was just about to start promoting the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight, in which he plays movie villain The Joker.

Born in Perth in 1979, Ledger made a name for himself in a series of brooding roles on the big screen; he was nominated for a 2006 Oscar for his portrayal of a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.

Fiercely private, Ledger has openly spoken about his public shyness, but he hit the headlines for romances with Heather Graham, Naomi Watts and his Brokeback Mountain co-star Michelle Williams, the mother of his two-year-old daughter Matilda Rose.

A star field hockey player and athlete, Ledger turned his attentions to drama in his teens and, when a friend headed to Sydney, Australia to chase an acting dream, the star-to-be went along for the ride.

He landed a break as a gay cyclist in 1996's Sweat - a TV drama about a group of Olympic hopefuls - and then he portrayed the best friend of a rapist in low-budget 1997 movie Blackrock.

Hedger left Australia to find acting work in America in 1999 and landed the lead in Aussie director Gregor Jordan's crime thriller Two Hands.

That film helped him land the lead hunk role in teen movie hit 10 Things I Hate About You.

He went on to play Mel Gibson's son in The Patriot and Billy Bob Thornton's troubled offspring in Monster's Ball. Both roles earned Ledger high praise from critics. But then came a string of critical flops - A Knight's Tale, Ned Kelly, Four Feathers, The Order, Lords Of Dogtown and The Brothers Grimm, which left Ledger desperate for another hit. But then followed Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain in 2005, which Ledger has often described as a major turning point in his professional and personal life.

As awkward cowboy Ennis Del Mar, Ledger regained his position as one of Hollywood's top stars. The role led to a Best Actor Oscar nod and the coveted role of The Joker in the upcoming The Dark Knight, for which he's already receiving great acclaim.

Ledger has also won acclaim for his role as Robbie Clark in quirky Bob Dylan-inspired movie I'm Not There.

The tragic star was last seen publicly on the London set of director Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus on Saturday (20Jan08).

Images 1 to 1 of 1

last 10 shown - scroll to view more   Member Comments

6:45 am

Heath! You will be missed. You’re star has not shone as brightly as it should but it did shine brightly enough. You made great movies. My personal fave is Knight’s Tale and Brothers Grimm! I love those movies. Looking forward to your version of The Joker this summer. Knowing you from you’re ... read more 
8:14 pm

Whether it was suicide or an accident or something else, it doesn't change anything for me. I'm saddened by this news and my opinion of him as an actor and a person won't change regardless of the cause of death. 
7:09 pm

[quote name='Hordak Rules' post='16426444' date='Jan 23 2008, 10:50 AM']Yes, because I trust TMZ to get the facts straight. CNN is saying the medical examiner said it would take another 10 days to determine how exactly he died. I imagine whether it was accidental or suicidal. I really hope... read more 
Hordak Rules
3:50 pm

[quote name='JayC' post='16426259' date='Jan 22 2008, 07:43 PM']TMZ has learned Heath Ledger was sick with pneumonia when he died today in NY. Yes, because I trust TMZ to get the facts straight. CNN is saying the medical examiner said it would take another 10 days to determine how exactly... read more 
3:41 pm

The autopsy Wednesday morning on actor Heath Ledger was inconclusive, and a cause-of-death determination will take 10 to 14 days, a medical examiner's spokeswoman said. 
12:27 pm

That's terrible! I'm still shocked and saddened by this. may he Rest in Peace. it's tragic when the young ones die so early... 
11:41 am

i just read the news of this loss. i loved heath as an actor. he always has done a perfect job. as i first heard that he was playing the joker, i wasnt sure that he can nail it but when i saw the trailer, he prowed me wrong. he will be remembered for years to come that he has done one of the greates... read more 
6:08 am

My deepest sympathies to Heath's family, friends, and the people that worked with him on TDK.  
die fighting x
5:00 am

All of this "re-write" nonsense... Especially with the writers strike, it would stand to reason that Nolan will just *gasp* re-cast the Joker for the next film if the character was intended to return. Easy fix, done. Might be a hard pill to swallow if Ledger's portrayal is top notch... read more 
4:52 am

Yeah I was shocked when I heard about this. It's like my generation's River Phoenix, although he ODd on cocaine. I wonder if playing the Joker had anything to do with this (coupled with his split from his fiance): "The Joker's character is based on his first two appearances in ... read more 
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