Heath Andrew Ledger, born on the 4th of April 1979, was an Australian film actor. The young star was behind award winning films such as The Patriot (2000), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and of course the film that made him a legend, the Dark Knight (2008) which was, at the time of Ledger’s death, still in the editing process. He passed away on the 22nd of January which was ruled an “accidental toxic combination of prescription drugs”.
On the eve of Ledger’s death, Diana Wolozin, his masseuse, found Ledger’s unconscious body in his bedroom. Wolozin immediately phoned Ledger’s friend, actress Mary-Kate Olsen who was in California at the time. Olsen directed a private security guard in New York to proceed to Ledger’s residence. After almost fifteen minutes Wolozin decided to call 9-11, which urged the frightened masseuse to administer CPR. Her attempts to resuscitate the actor failed and only three minutes after EMT paramedics arrived at the scene, Heath Ledger was pronounced dead.
Two weeks after Ledger’s death, a toxicology report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York was released. According to the initial autopsy, Ledger’s death was caused by acute intoxication by the combined effects of different prescription drugs such as diazepam, doxylamine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam and temazepam. The Chief Medical Examiner also believed that Ledger’s death was an accident, that it had resulted from the abuse, whether accidental or not, of prescription drugs.
In August of 2008, the actor’s close friend Mary-Kate Olsen was speculated to be involved in Ledger’s death. Murray Weiss of the New York Post had reason to believe that Olsen had supplied Ledger with the drugs that ended his life. Her lawyer denied the accusation, and also said that the actress refused to be interviewed by federal investigators without immunity from prosecution. The actress also stressed that the media had insufficient evidence to link her to their accusations.
Sources also linked Heath Ledger’s death to his insomnia. The actor reportedly had trouble sleeping after the filming of the Dark Knight. According to Ledger himself, he frequently had too much going on in his head and that was causing his inability to get a good night’s rest. “My body was exhausted, while my mind was still going”, he told the New York Times. Because of this, he resorted to taking medication, which apparently didn’t help at all. Even taking more than the prescribed dosage didn’t help him.
Ledger’s death also affected the marketing of his two previously unreleased films: The Dark Knight and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He won a Golden Globe Award posthumously for the Dark Knight, as well as an Academy Award. Heath Ledger was probably one of the greatest actors of our time. He has touched many throughout his career, and his works rank as some of the best in the business.