Heath Ledger Death an Accidental Prescription Drug Overdose

***STATEMENT from HEATH LEDGER’s FAMILLY***

We remain humble as parents and a family, among millions of people worldwide who may have suffered the tragic loss of a child. Few can understand the hollow, wrenching, and enduring agony parents silently suffer when a child predeceases them. Today’s results put an end to speculation, but our son’s beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts.

While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath’s accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.

Our family enjoyed an extremely happy two week visit with Heath just prior to the New Year. Those recent precious days will stay with us forever. We as a family feel privileged to have some of his amazing magic moments captured in film. To most of the world Heath was an actor of immeasurable talent and promise. To those who knew him personally, Heath was a consummate artist whose passions also included photography, music, chess and directing. We knew Heath as a loving father, as our devoted son, and as a loyal and generous brother and friend.

We treasure our beautiful granddaughter Matilda (to our dear Michelle) as well as an unbelievably wonderful network of close friends, forever, around the world. Families rarely experience the uplifting, warm and massive outpouring of grief and support as have we, from every corner of the planet. This has deeply and profoundly touched our hearts and lives. We are eternally grateful.

At this moment we respectfully request the worldwide media allow us time to grieve privately, without the intrusions associated with press and photography.

Comments

  1. says

    What this doesn’t say is how two adult idiots listened to him struggling to breath for nearly two hours before waiting another hour to call 9-1-1! I don’t understand is why the housekeeper, the “masseuse”, and the Full House bitches haven’t been charged with gross negligence.

    What a stupid, stupid waste!

    David B.

  2. mike in the Tundra says

    That’s a hell of a lot of drugs. I’m glad to hear it was not suicide, but something sure must have been bothering that boy. There were powerful pain killers in that bunch, but I’m willing to bet that the pain was psychological.

  3. Paul R says

    Chux, there are plenty of doctors who will hand out whatever you want, especially if you’re famous.

    Having experimented with nearly all of those meds at one time or another, I also have a hard time believing this was an accident. Presumably he was familiar with their effects, and combining them like that doesn’t even really make sense from a drag user perspective—drug users want to feel good. Mixing all those would be counterproductive, and mixing benzos with most anything is unpredictable and usually messy.

  4. Cory says

    As outrageous as this might seem, I was thinking. What if the masseuse and the house keeper found Mr Ledger with a suicide note? Thus, prompting those few “what should we do?” phone calls between Ms Olson and the masseuse. Perhaps Ms Olson informed them to take the note so the police don’t find it and give it to the family, so the press doesn’t get a hold of it and it stays a private matter. Ok, far fetched, but I wouldn’t doubt something like this would happen. How else could these medications been in the system as accidental? Those drugs have anywhere from a 6-20 hour half life, so they must have been taken in close proximity of one another.

    However, in the end, we should all let the man rest in peace. It’s a tragedy.

  5. Wade says

    I don’t know how he could have been conscious enough to take that many drugs but then again, everyone is different. Apparently in demand “on the street” oxycodone does nothing for me, but meanwhile temazepam works wonders.

    I suspect that the snoring the housekeeper and the non-licenced masseuse heard was him in the process of dying – since many of these drugs act on respiration.

  6. mike says

    The medical examiner’s autopsy report only underscores the needless tragedy of Heath Ledger’s death. For those who wonder how someone could “accidentally” take a lethal amount of drugs of the kind that Mr. Ledger was taking–even if one is not technically “abusing” these drugs–the answer is simple. Some of these drugs remain in one’s system for a longer period even after their effects seemingly have worn off. It is very easy to take these drugs regularly and not be aware that one is building up a level of toxicity. The key finding was that Mr. Ledger had Nyquil in his system. Nyquil is one of the deadliest of the OTC drugs when it is combined with the accumulative effects of the other prescription drugs Mr. Ledger was taking. This is the same drug–in combination with a cocktail of other prescription drugs–that killed the actor, River Phoenix. Whatever the reason, it still is a very sad and terrible tragedy. God rest his troubled soul.

  7. busytimmy says

    Playing alphabet soup with powerful drugs like that is extremely careless. Even mixing oxy or vicodin with boooze is dangerous. It’s so sad, but how can someone not know what they are doing with these dangerous medications. Who gave them to him? Did he have prescriptions?

  8. crispy says

    Mike: Wrong. River Phoenix was not killed by Nyquil! Where the hell did you hear that retarded story?

    He died doing speedballs, a combination of heroin and cocaine.

  9. Wade says

    David B.

    I’m with you. You can bet that if it were you or I that called a third party after finding someone who appeared to be deceased – before calling 911 – especially after having heard him breating while we were there – the police would not let us off as they have the housekeeper, masseuse and the Olson.

  10. Badboy says

    Where are you getting NyQuil? I have not read that anywhere. The only OTC(I think it’s OTC) med listed was Unisom, a sleeping aid. And if you read the report it states ‘death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.’ ABUSE, which means he used the drugs in a manner other than their prescribed purpose. Only he knows if it was his intention to die or just an unexpected side affect. And whats with the pic of him? With all the great ones, you choose one that makes him look gaunt, bags under the eyes, skinny etc…all the earmarks of an addict.
    Side note: River Phoenix died from a speedball, but they also found OTC cold meds in his body. The combination is probably a factor in the speedball going deadly. But as many said, its over, let him rest in peace.

  11. Mike says

    When I lived in the USA and had back pain, and couldn’t get decent physiotherapy services, my doctor prescribed me a similar concoction of drugs without even blinking. I didn’t even realize what oxycodone, hydrocodone were until some weeks later.

  12. mike says

    good call KY … Helen, STFU, you’re an idiot. no traces of (or the paraphernalia to use) ANY illicit drugs were found at Ledger’s loft: no cocaine, no pot, no H, no meth, no nothing. You’re trashing a good guy who I’m willing to bet never did one bad thing to you.

  13. FunMe says

    We live in the era of “take a pill, make the problem go away”.

    The problem with the US is that, well at least in LA, there seems to be a new Rite Aid or Walgreens opening up each week. Is this city so freaking medicated when it really is not necessary?

    I think so.

  14. says

    How did they determine he was abusing these drugs? Is there evidence he’s been taking this combination for some time?

    It’s possible he accidentally combined these drugs. They said he was sick the day he died, and that he’d been suffering from insomnia. Maybe he just took the wrong drug by mistake. I’ve done that when I was sick – fortunately, it was nothing that would interact with the other meds I was taking.

    No drugs were found in his stomach, IIRC, so he hadn’t taken any additional pills within a few hours of his death. He’d just returned from Europe, where some of his prescriptions were written. Maybe he’d been taking a different set of anti-anxiety and sleep drugs in Europe. When he returned to New York, he brought the European drugs with him, but starting taking his US drugs again – while some of the European drugs were still in his system.

  15. POdQueen says

    The way that people get these meds are if they are very stressed out and in a lot of pain, or the other way around. You don”t know if he had been seriously injured in his lifetime. Temazepem can be ordered for sleep when alot of other things do not work. One of the other meds taken used to have alcohol in it, it also helps to make one sleep. I think he did not realize that the alcohol combo was very dangerous with the other meds. Most of you love to pass judgement. How about you take some med courses or pharmacy courses and find out the truth? Maybe then some of you could find your soul. Remember “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

  16. mike says

    Crispy: the autopsy report for River Phoenix stated that he had been drinking Nyquil on top of everything else he was doing. I didn’t say that Nyquil was the only thing that killed him. But, thanks for clarifying what I should have. Peace.

  17. cliff says

    my father was on alprazolam and diazepam while in the hospital for a stroke…he would periodically have seizures, and they used these two medications, as well as, six others to treat his condition…these two meds would knock him out for hours.

  18. Oscar says

    His death is a shame. He was so talented and sensitive. Well is good to know it was no suicide but a terrible accident, although it is still terrible. Maybe now stupid a**holes like David Hauslab from Queerty and other gay blogs realize that making jokes about the death of Heath was in very bad taste and irrespectful. You see a**hole David he did not killed himself on Tuesday go get more publicity. What you have to do a**hole David is to drop the plane to Amsterdam in the middle of the Atlantic on Tuesday so that you and your blogs get more hits and more publicity. A**hole.

  19. Hadassah Weinreb says

    My fault was with the EMT responders who basically pronounced him dead moments after arriving on site. Had this been in a hospital setting the staff would have “coded” him for much longer time than was expended in the loft.

  20. says

    The death was tragic but is merely an indicator that prescription drug abuse doesn’t respect economic classes or gender. As the director of Novus Medical Detox we see many people addicted to alcohol and/or opioids. Most of the people addicted to opioids like OxyContin were put on these by medical doctors. They became addicted/dependent to the drugs and can’t stop without terrible withdrawal symptoms. However, the biggest problem is increasing abuse by teens. We have had patients who started abusing prescription drugs when they were 12. These young people tell us stories about how many friends they have lost to prescription drug overdoses.

    This is a prescription drug epidemic.

    Steve Hayes
    http://novusdetox.com

  21. says

    The death was tragic but is merely an indicator that prescription drug abuse doesn’t respect economic classes or gender. As the director of Novus Medical Detox we see many people addicted to alcohol and/or opioids. Most of the people addicted to opioids like OxyContin were put on these by medical doctors. They became addicted/dependent to the drugs and can’t stop without terrible withdrawal symptoms. However, the biggest problem is increasing abuse by teens. We have had patients who started abusing prescription drugs when they were 12. These young people tell us stories about how many friends they have lost to prescription drug overdoses.

    This is a prescription drug epidemic.

    Steve Hayes
    http://novusdetox.com

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