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Heath Ledger, 28, Dead of Apparent Overdose

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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IN MEMORIAM Heath, 241 Broome (inset) Our rumor, sadly, turned out to be true: Australian screen actor Heath Ledger is dead. It is unclear at this juncture whether Ledger's death was a suicide or the result of an accidental overdose of pills; an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. He was 28.

The Perth native rose to prominence as a teen heartthrob in such commercially successful films as Ten Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale, but was best known for his role in Ang Lee's's 2005 art house classic Brokeback Mountain. Ledger, who played a gay cowboy who falls in love with a gay cowboy played by Jake Gyllenhaal, garnered a Best Actor Oscar nod for his performance; The New York Times film critic Stephen Holden called it "a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn."

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Last year, Ledger, who had previously dated actresses Naomi Watts and Heather Graham, ended a three-year relationship with Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain. The couple had a daughter, Matilda Rose, in 2005, and lived in a brownstone in the Brooklyn outpost of Boerum Hill until the split. Despite frequent run-ins with paparazzi, Ledger and Williams were reportedly well-liked in Brooklyn, a rarity for celebrities of their status. Most recently, Ledger had been linked to fellow Aussie, model Gemma Ward. His reputation as a man about town was well-earned.

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Apartments in the Broome Street building where Ledger's body was found by a masseuse rent for $22,000 a month. According to a police spokesperson, the apartment was owned by Mary-Kate Olsen, though TMZ maintains that this was not the case. A source tells that Olsen lives in an apartment on Mercer Street, but that Olsen may have been renting the space to Ledger. Daughter Matilda is now two.



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