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The Death of Heath Ledger




Continuing with our celebrity deaths, this week we are going to take a look at Heath Ledger.

Heath Ledger was an Australian actor known for his roles in ’10 things I hate about you’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’.


Ledger, unfortunately, died prematurely at the age of 28, but what happened to him?


Prior to his death, Ledger had undertaken the role of the Joker in ‘The dark Knight’ batman movie. With this role, his sleep suffered as he tried to make the joker come to life. This is where he began to substance abuse. He took medication to help with his insomnia.


At around 3 pm on the 22nd of January 2008, Ledger was found unconscious by a cleaner. According to the 911 call made, Ledger was not breathing, and CPR was attempted but to no avail. Within half an hour of being found, Ledger was pronounced dead by the paramedics. He was only 28 years old.


An autopsy was carried out as his cause of death was unknown. Toxicology samples were taken, and the toxicology report claimed that Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose. This seems to be a common occurrence in Hollywood as you have seen with some of our previous Celebrity deaths. It has been determined Ledger abused prescription medication and in his system at his time of death, traces of diazepam, alprazolam, oxycodone, hydrocodone, temazepam and doxylamine were found. These medications are commonly prescribed for anxiety or insomnia which we know Ledger suffered from. However, it is unlikely that multiple benzodiazepines would be prescribed to one patient at the same time. One forensic pathologist determined that if Ledger did not consume hydrocodone and oxycodone before his death, he could have survived. Ledger also had the flu at the time of his death, this combination of those medications could have easily led to Ledger’s breathing stopping.


It is still not known how Ledger got his hands on oxycodone and hydrocodone as they were not prescribed to him.


Posthumously, Ledger was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker. If he survived, who knows where his career could have gone?

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