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Update: Ledger's Autopsy Is Inconclusive

By Associate News Editor     January 23, 2008
Source: CNN, AP Press Releases

2nd Update: The latest press release from the AP indicates that more time (10 days) is required for further investigation.

An autopsy on Heath Ledger was inconclusive, and more tests are needed, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday, a day after the 28-year-old actor was found dead with sleeping pills nearby.

It will take about 10 days to complete the investigation, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.

Earlier, police said the death was caused by a possible drug overdose and appeared to be accidental.


Updating this sad news with the press releases given by his family, publicist and Warner Bros.


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.


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scoxocs 1/22/2008 2:20:58 PM
I hope no reshoots were necessary on "Dark Knight". Otherwise they'll have to go CGI ala "Gladiator" or stand-in ala "The Crow". I wonder if the Joker is alive at the end of the film or if Nolan will have to recast the Joker for part 3. Also, it looks like Ledger was also attached to the next Terry Gilliam movie. Such a shame. Good wishes to his family. Heath will be missed.
Whiskeymovie 1/22/2008 2:21:11 PM
NO WAY!!! That really sucks,,,,I always liked Heath Ledger, and he was just to blow up huge with the Joker,,,,man, that really blows,,, I wonder what he died of....wow,,,ain't that some shit... He was a great actor who wasn't afraid to try new things, ala, Brokeback Mountain....while I thought that movie sucked, I give him major props for doing something that riskee....Good luck wherever you are Heath Ledger.
fallensbane@yahoo.com_home 1/22/2008 2:21:25 PM
Yeah.. I just saw this on Yahoo's main page. This was pretty much the last thing I expected to be reading today. Pretty friggin crazy,
sharpe95th 1/22/2008 2:21:49 PM
28 years old and his career was on the foothold to stardom. Man what a shame. It'll be somewhat sadly ironic watching Batman knowing of his fate.
audioslave69 1/22/2008 2:21:51 PM
Damn.. i hate when people die so young. This means batman is gonna en saying in memory of him.
Sanity 1/22/2008 2:23:10 PM
Wow. It's almost like a sick joke. Reminds me of River Phoenix.
kaybar 1/22/2008 2:23:14 PM
TERRIBLE, I'll drink one tonight for ya Heath. And damn you Olsen for being involved.
afrointelligent 1/22/2008 2:24:11 PM
Insane, just insane.
bjjdenver 1/22/2008 2:25:21 PM
It is being reported that they suspect his death to be drug related. I will wait to cast judgement, but regardless, I just can never understand how these celebs can let their addictions become life threatening. I know this isn't anything new, but the presence of all types of media have made it more and more common for these people to mess up right in front of our eyes and make it seem all to common. I liked Ledger and this is sad news, but look at any website that is entertainment related and all we see is Lohan, Paris, Britney, Winehouse and so on, going ass-wild with little consequence. Where is the law in these people's lives? They keep getting things like 40 minutes in jail and we are going to see more and more of this stuff happening. I hope the reports are wrong and maybe he had a heart attack or something, but whenever you see something like this, drugs always pop into your mind first.
saiyiansreign823 1/22/2008 2:25:34 PM
I can't believe that he's dead. What a promising actor and his star was really on the rise. I actually can't wait to see his portrayal of the Joker in "The Dark Knight". Just like how Brandon Lee's role was the definitive Crow, I hope his role is the same for the Joker. My condolences go out to his family and friends.
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