Heath Ledger death: How did Heath Ledger die?

'I Am Heath Ledger' to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

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Heath Ledger will appear on Channel 4 this afternoon in A Knight’s Tale. Express.co.uk will take a look back at the late actor and what caused his sudden death in 2008 at just 28-years-old.

My heart is broken.

Michelle Williams

To many, Heath seemed to be at the top of his professional life when he passed, starring in films like Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight.

However, his reality was very different. The actor was reportedly abusing drugs, as well as struggling with serious insomnia.

Not long before his death his relationship with fellow actress Michelle Williams had also ended.

The pair had met on the set of Brokeback Mountain and shortly after moved in together in Brooklyn and welcomed their daughter in 2005.

When the relationship ended, Michelle remained at the family home while Heath moved to Manhattan and became a favourite for New York tabloids.

The tabloids often portrayed him as a young, carefree actor who was enjoying parties and hooking up with models, but the truth was far darker.

Playing The Joker, a “a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” was very draining for the late star.

Speaking to Empire in 2007, he said: “I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices.

“I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath – someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts.”

According to the New York City medical examiner’s office, Heath’s cause of death was an accidental overdose of prescription medications.

This fatal cocktail included painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills.

Specifically, he died from an “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine”.

According to experts, this combination causes the brain and brain stem to “fall asleep”, stopping heart and lung function.

And in 2017, forensic pathologist Dr Jason Payne-James said that it was the addition of oxycodone and hydrocodone that proved fatal.

He was found in his New York apartment by his housekeeper, where he was found unconscious and naked on his bedroom floor.

His death only only cut his promising acting career short but also devastated many.

Speaking at the time, his former partner Michelle said: “My heart is broken.

“His family and I watch Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals, and takes steps two at a time, and we know that he is still with us.

“She will be brought up in the best memories of him.”

You can watch Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale today on Channel 4 at 1.30pm

If you have been affected by this story or know someone else going through similar contact Frank. You can reach them on their website or call 0300 123 6600.

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