More Tests Needed in Ledger's Death

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An autopsy on Heath Ledger was inclusive, and more tests are needed, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday.

It will take about 10 days to complete the investigation, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.  Authorities found six different types of prescription drugs in Ledger's apartment, including pills to treat insomnia and anxiety and an antihistamine, the Associated Press reported. Three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe.

Did the dark characters Ledger portrayed contribute to his anxiety and insomnia? Watch for more on this and more from Dr. Linda Mintle.

Meanwhile, tests on rolled-up $20 bill found near Heath Ledger's bed detected no drug residue, the NYPD said late Wednesday. Tests ruled out any possibility that Ledger might have been snorting drugs

A Life Cut Short.

The 28-year-old's career was cut short when he was found dead by his housekeeper and masseuse on Tuesday.

He was lying naked and face-down at the foot of his bed, with prescription sleeping pills nearby, police said.

Authorities said the death was a possible overdose, but the results of an autopsy were inconclusive.

It was a shocking end to the Australian actor's career, who chose to downplay his accent and leading-man looks in exchange for playing a tormented gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, a drug addict in Candy, an incarnation of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There.

He took a role playing Batman's nemesis, the Joker, in the upcoming The Dark Knight, which is guaranteed to be a blockbuster. It may be his final finished performance.

Family Mourns

Ledger split last year with Michelle Williams, who played his wife in Brokeback Mountain. The two had a daughter, the now 2-year-old Matilda, and lived together in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill neighborhood.

Early Wednesday, Williams and Matilda left Trollhattan, Sweden, where the 27-year-old actress had been shooting scenes for the upcoming film Mammoth, said Martin Stromberg, a spokesman for film production company Memfis Film.

"She received the news at her hotel late last night," Stromberg said, adding he had not spoken to the actress after she learned of Ledger's death.

Ledger's father said Tuesday the actor's death was "tragic, untimely and accidental."

Kim Ledger called his son "down-to-earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving, unselfish" and "extremely inspirational to many."

"Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life," he said.

Professional Anxiety

The actor's personal strife was accompanied by professional anxiety.

Ledger said in an interview in November that Dark Knight and last year's I'm Not There, took a heavy toll. He said he "stressed out a little too much" during the Dylan film, and had trouble sleeping while portraying the Joker, whom he called a "psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy."

"Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night," Ledger told The New York Times. "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going." He said he took two Ambien pills, which only worked for an hour.

Ledger's Career Path

Ledger was born in 1979 in the western Australian city of Perth to a mining engineer and a French teacher. He got his first acting role playing Peter Pan at age 10 at a local theater company. He began acting in independent films as a 16-year-old in Sydney and played a cyclist hoping to land a spot on an Olympic team in a 1996 television show, Seat.

After several independent films, Ledger moved to Los Angeles at age 19 and starred opposite Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, a reworking of the William Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew. Offers for other teen flicks came his way, but Ledger turned them down, preferring to remain idle than sign on for projects he didn't like.

"It wasn't a hard decision for me," Ledger told The Associated Press in 2001. "It was hard for everyone else around me to understand. Agents were like, `You're crazy,' my parents were like, `Come on, you have to eat.'"

He began to gravitate toward more independent films after roles in Monster's Ball, The Patriot and A Knight's Tale. His work in 2005's Brokeback Mountain earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.

In the 2006 film Candy, Ledger played a poet wrestling with a heroin addiction along with his girlfriend. Neil Armfield, who directed Ledger in the film, said the actor had "handled his career incredibly well," steering himself toward more challenging roles.

"He made a decision about four years ago to stop being led by producers and managers and to forge his own way," Armfield told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Ledger was a widely recognized figure in his Manhattan neighborhood, where Michelle Vella said she frequently saw him carrying his 2-year-old daughter on his shoulders, or having ice cream with her.

"It's a shock; he's so young," said Taren Dolbashian, who also had seen Ledger with his daughter. "He always seems so happy."

Source: The Associated Press

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