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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Actor Heath Ledger found dead at 28

Tragedy struck the entertainment world today as Hollywood has lost one of its brightest up-and-coming actors.

Actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a New York City apartment owned by actress Mary-Kate Olsen today, say online reports. Though the immediate cause of death has not been confirmed, the Australian film star was reportedly found surrounded by pills by an in-house masseuse. Ledger was 28 years old. Officials say Olsen is currently away in California and it is unclear why Ledger was in her apartment, according to The New York Times. [UPDATE] Initial reports by The New York Times stating that the apartment belonged to Olsen were retracted, as the actress' publicist denied the reports.

The blonde-locked heartthrob made his first splash in the late 1990s, playing a campus stud in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, before grabbing the lead in A Knight's Tale in 2001. He gained even more recognition as a co-star in Ang Lee's critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain, in which he played a cowboy wrestling with homosexuality. Ledger received an Oscar nod for that performance.

Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight.

However, Ledger was getting the most buzz from a role in a movie that hasn't even been released yet. Ledger is due for posthumous fan-boy stardom as The Joker in the next chapter in the revamped Batman franchise in The Dark Knight. The film, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, is due in theaters on July 18. Clips leaked online showed Ledger at one of his finest moments, providing the perfect sinister touch to one of fiction's most notorious villains.

Ledger has one child, born in October 2005, with former fiancée and Dawson's Creek star Michelle Williams.

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