'Brokeback Mountain' star Heath Ledger was found dead in a New York apartment in the trendy Manhattan area of SoHo on Tuesday, Jan 22. The 28-year old actor died of an apparent drug overdose.
He was found naked and unconscious by a housekeeper at 3.35pm with prescription pills were found strewn near his body.
AdvertisementAccording to the New York Times, a masseuse arrived at the apartment and was let in the door by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Ledger's bedroom.
When no one answered, the duo then opened the bedroom door and found the Aussie actor unconscious.
After failing to wake him up, they called emergency services. When paramedics responded, the actor was in full cardiac arrest.
Their attempts to perform CPR were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
While police are investigating the possibility death by overdose, the actor's grieving family in Perth insisted the tragedy was an accident.
"We, Heath's family can confirm the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda," News.com.au quoted Ledger's father Kim, as saying.
"He was found peacefully asleep in his New York apartment by his housekeeper. He was down to earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving, unselfish, individual (and) extremely inspirational to many."
"We would like to thank our friends and everyone around the world for their well wishes and kind thoughts at this time," Mr Ledger said.
The New York Post reported that bottles of Diazepam and Alprazolam, both anti-anxiety drugs, had been discovered in the apartment.
Ledger had revealed in an interview last year that he was indeed taking sleeping pills to combat insomnia.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said: "We are investigating the possibility of an overdose."
Ledger is best known for his groundbreaking role as Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, for which he was nominated as best lead actor for his role as a gay cowboy.