Heath Ledger, who died on January 22, 2008, is one of the most beloved actors of all times. His performance as the DC villain Joker has been carved into the minds of his fans. Despite the actor's success in the industry, he was suffering from insomnia. Ledger, before his death, had immersed himself into his character Joker, and had recently moved into a Manhattan rental apartment after splitting from girlfriend Michelle Williams.
Also, suffering from 'walking pneumonia', at that time, Ledger was desperate and had began relying on prescription drugs. His friend and housemate Gerry Grennell had told People magazine: "I would hear him wandering around the apartment and I'd get up and say, 'Come on, man, get back to bed, you have to work tomorrow.' He said, 'I can't sleep, man.'"
Friends and family were worried about Heath's well being. The night before his death, his sister Kate had begged him to cut some of his medications out. "You can't mix drugs that you don't know anything about," their father Kim recalled her saying. "I'll be fine," replied Heath. If the Australian actor had listened to his sibling at the time, the events that followed might never have happened that night.
Heath's father Kim, told news.com.au, "It just put his whole system to sleep I guess. It was a one-off thing. That's what killed us, because he was warned by his sister the night before: 'You shouldn't mix what you're taking for pneumonia with your Ambien. He was a young guy that travelled all the time for work. Even as a two-year-old, he hardly ever slept. He was trying to work and travel and do everything in a short space of time."(sic)
He continued, "Heath mixed a couple of drugs together with sleeping tablets and he's gone forever."
Heath was found by his massage therapist Diana Wolozin. Diana called 911, when she realised he was dead after finding his body cold while trying to wake him up. An operator reportedly guided Diana through CPR until the paramedics arrived minutes later. While the world was shocked by Heath's sudden death, fans were convinced that split from Michelle had plunged him into a state of depression. According to the autopsy by the New York coroner, Ledger had died of 'acute intoxication' after ingesting a cocktail of prescription medication. His death was ruled as an accident.
In 2017, forensic pathologist Dr Jason Payne-James said that it was the addition of OxyContin and hydrocodone that proved fatal for his life. Ledger died at the age 28, just a few months before the release of his film, The Dark Knight. The record-breaking Batman release also earned Ledger an Oscar for best-supporting actor posthumously.