When Heath Ledger died in 2008, just months before the world got to see his sneering, paint smeared face in the role that would define him, the world was left in mourning. Now, 8 years after his tragic passing due to an accidental overdose or prescription drugs, Ledger’s father Kim spoke about his son’s struggles and the last words he said to his sister.
“It was totally his fault. It was no one else’s. He reached for them. He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation,” Kim told Daily Mail Australia. “That’s hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him.”
Ledger was found in his New York apartment after having wrapped shooting on The Dark Knight, the film that would earn him his posthumous Oscar for his performance as The Joker. He was in the middle of production on Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the strenuous shooting schedule leaving him drained.
“There’s so much pressure on them to perform so even though your body is telling you that it’s not good and needs time, it’s like ‘just take these painkillers and keep going,’” Kim said. “That was the case with Heath. He had to be back on set to finish (the next day). They were doing night shoots in the freezing cold and he had a weak chest anyway. He’d caught this (cough) and just couldn’t shake it but he thought he had to because he wanted to get the movie done.”
Kim said that Ledger’s sister spoke to Heath the night before and warned him not to mix drugs. “He said, ‘Katie, Katie, I’m fine. I know what I’m doing.’ He would have had no idea,” said Kim.
Ledger is survived by one daughter, Matilda, with actor Michelle Williams.
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