Results of a postmortem examination carried out on the actor Heath Ledger were inconclusive and it could take two weeks for a cause of death to be determined, New York medical examiners said yesterday.
Ledger (28) the star of Brokeback Mountain, was found dead in a New York apartment on Tuesday afternoon, lying face down at the foot of the bed.
”The cause of death for Mr Ledger will be pending further study … It’s going to be about 10 days to two weeks,” said Ellen Borakove, a spokesperson for the office of the New York chief medical examiner.
Authorities corrected earlier reports that pills had been strewn around the room. Medication found in the apartment was in containers on a bedside table and in a bathroom cabinet. Speculation that his death may have involved prescription drugs was rife, following reports that sleeping pills were found near his body.
In Australia there was a sense of shock and disbelief. In Perth, his parents insisted that his death was accidental: ”We, Heath’s family, can confirm the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda,” his father, Kim, said. ”He was a down to earth, generous, kind hearted, life loving, unselfish individual, extremely inspirational to many.”
Ang Lee, who directed Brokeback Mountain, described Ledger’s death as ”heartbreaking”, adding: ”Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life. He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined … Everyone who knew him loved him.”
Mel Gibson, who played his father in The Patriot, said: ”I had such great hope for him … to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss.”
Michelle Williams, the mother of Ledger’s daughter and his co-star in Brokeback Mountain, left Sweden where she was filming to return to New York. The couple separated in September last year. – Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008