‘The Dark Knight’ Star Heath Ledger's Death Ruled Accidental Overdose

Toxicology report says that the actor's death was due to a combination of prescription drugs.
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‘The Dark Knight’ Star Heath Ledger's Death Ruled Accidental Overdose

Movie Picture Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of painkillers, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and other prescription drugs, the New York City medical examiner said Wednesday, the AP reports.

The cause of death was "acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine," spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said in a statement.

The drugs are the generic names for the painkiller OxyContin, the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, and the sleep aids Restoril and Unisom. Hydrocodone is a widely used prescription painkiller.

Borakove wouldn't say what concentrations of each drug were found in Ledger's blood, or whether one drug played a greater part than another in causing his death.

"What you're looking at here is the cumulative effects of these medications together," she said.

The ruling comes two weeks after the 28-year-old Australian-born actor was found dead in the bed of his rented SoHo apartment. Police found bottles of six types of prescription drugs in his bedroom and bathroom.

Ledger's family returned to the actor's hometown of Perth, Australia, on Tuesday to prepare for his funeral. Arrangements were private.

In a statement released through Ledger's publicist, the actor's father, Kim, said Wednesday: "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."

Ledger, nominated for an Oscar for his role in Brokeback Mountain, had returned to New York from London, where he had been filming a $30 million Terry Gilliam film, days before his death. He said in a November interview that his most recent completed roles in the Batman movie The Dark Knight and Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There had taken a toll, saying he couldn't sleep.

"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 had taken two Ambien pills, which only gave him an hour of sleep.

UPDATE

TV Guide reports that the federal government is getting involved in Heath Ledger's death. The Drug Enforcement Administration has launched an investigation into how Ledger obtained the multiple prescription drugs that led to his accidental overdose. The DEA has requested copies of Ledger's autopsy as well as the original police report from the crime scene, according to local law enforcement officials.

The Dark Knight was released July 18th, 2008.

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64 comments

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  • kingdingaling • 8 years ago

    family guy rules man!!! and on the subject of ledger , i think everyone has said enough good things and sadly the small percentage of people who are intent on spoiling this, i feel we need to let the subject rest now and let heath ledger rest in peace

    reply

    • mcleve02 • 8 years ago

      guys allow me to explain why it turned to this. if you had read through all the comments you would know already...the conversation was turning really ugly between mainly the Joker's and the other guys over Heath..one side defending him and the other say he was a druggy. Everything turned to this conversation to stop the raging conflict that was building. Now if you would read through all the articles, you will notice how alot of us have been truly concerned about the death of Ledger, whether positive or negative. if you were on my profile you would know. Thats the reason Family Guy and everything came up...we needed to find something would could all agree on

      reply

      • ethlenn • 8 years ago

        Little respect, people!! This article is about someone's death, not a game!

        reply

        • movieguru2 • 8 years ago

          If someone was posting this article and it was relating to my "accidental drug dose" I sure as hell hope that the conversation wouldn't lead to the World of Warcraft! Come on people a little sympathy for a fine actor please!!

          reply

          • mindscape • 8 years ago

            lol, Quagmire always cracks me up..... I love how he was C3-PO in the family guy Star Wars spoof.... that was hilarious! "Thanx for the sex early 90's printer!"

            reply

            • mcleve02 • 8 years ago

              family guy is freaking sweet! i love family guy! Quagmire Giggity Giiggty Giggity!

              reply

              • mindscape • 8 years ago

                lol

                reply

                • insertusernamehere • 8 years ago

                  Yeah the world of warcraft episode is one of my alltime favs. "You've just been pwned."

                  reply

                  • radimus-83 • 8 years ago

                    lol,, oh my how the topic has changed since i last been on!!! haha

                    family guy f*cking rules!!!!

                    UPS Woman: Package for Mr. Glen Quagmire.

                    Quagmire: Thank you.

                    [walks inside with it, returns naked]

                    Quagmire: And I've got a package for you. Oh yeah.

                    [she maces him]

                    Quagmire: Heh he. I've developed immunity to that stuff.

                    reply

                    • mindscape • 8 years ago

                      those episodes were hilarious.... I like how they managed to both show some respect for family guy and also make fun of it. One of my fav eps to date though is the World of Warcraft..... I almost peed my pants when I first saw that one, lol.

                      reply

                      • insertusernamehere • 8 years ago

                        No, stuntman, I don't have the actual poster. I don't even think there is a poster of it u can buy. I've never seen it anywhere except for in that issue of Wizard.

                        I like family guy too, but south park's better. I loved the cartoon wars 2 parter where cartman tries to get family guy cancelled.

                        reply

                        • mindscape • 8 years ago

                          another great show..... family guy..... thanx Saint, I'll check out the link.

                          reply

                          • scarecrow924 • 8 years ago

                            family guy already did it

                            http://www.metacafe.com/watch/570497/super_mexicans_on_family_guy/

                            reply

                            • marcusx • 8 years ago

                              lol

                              reply

                              • mindscape • 8 years ago

                                that would be an awesome comic spoof! I can see something like that on Adult Swim.... I'd love to see a JLM (Justice League Mexico) where they could all be wearing luchador outfits.... now that would be a trip.

                                reply

                                • marcusx • 8 years ago

                                  the funny thing is that its a poster of JLA justice league of AMERICA. i wana see JLP justice league of Pakistan lol or maybe iraq, hell mexico would be funny too. EL MUCHACHO DEL AQUA (mexican aqua man) lol

                                  reply

                                  • mindscape • 8 years ago

                                    Alex Ross is amazing.... every issue of Justice I pick up my jaw drops.... every panel, cover to cover is like a masterpiece.... how he pumps that stuff out so quickly is beyond me.

                                    reply

                                    • mindscape • 8 years ago

                                      that's awesome.... sorry I missed that issue of Wizard mag..... do you have the actual poster on your wall?

                                      reply

                                      • mindscape • 8 years ago

                                        lol, that's funny Rad.... yeah I had my susp*cions about ol' Saddam too..... But I do think that he and the devil make a cute couple, don't you?

                                        reply

                                        • insertusernamehere • 8 years ago

                                          Yeah, it's by Ross. It's from a few years ago in Wizard magazine for a "dream poster."

                                          reply

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