Heath Ledger, star of the groundbreaking gay cowboy movie romance Brokeback Mountain, has been found dead in New York City, possibly of an overdose.
According to various reports, a masseuse and housekeeper found his body naked on the floor of his bedroom in an apartment on Broome Street Manhattan on Tuesday.
Ledger was unconscious and surrounded by pills, including sleeping pills. They attempted to revive him without success.
Police say that no foul play is suspected, although an autopsy will be conducted today.
About 300 onlookers gathered outside the apartment building as his body was brought out in a black bag .
Australian born Ledger, who was 28, came to global prominence for his acclaimed performance as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, which is one of the most lauded and commercially successful gay themed movies ever produced. He received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
In a statement reacting to his death, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said that, “Heath Ledger will forever be remembered for his groundbreaking role as Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. His powerful portrayal changed hearts and minds in immeasurable ways.”
Mel Gibson, who starred in The Patriot with Ledger, said in a statement that, “I had such great hope for him… He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss.”
Ledger leaves behind a daughter, Matilda Rose. He was separated from her mother, actress Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain.
Ledger had just completed filming the new Batman film The Dark Knight, in which he played the joker.