This article contains references to drug use, mental health issues, and suicide.
In the tabloid frenzy that followed the shocking news, there were things we learned about Heath Ledger after he died that only added to the tragedy, and the mystery, of the beloved actor and his untimely end. The "Brokeback Mountain" star was just 28 when he was found dead of an accidental prescription drug overdose in the Manhattan apartment he was renting, promoting a rush of intensive — and often speculative — coverage regarding the young star's short life.
In describing the grotesque obsession with the star's death, New York magazine painted the grim scene outside the star's apartment wherein "a scrum of cameras" filmed the removal of the body bag which contained his corpse. The "dreamlike spectacle ... was in its way more grotesque than the 'Hollywood Babylon' tableau in Ledger's apartment." So too was some of the coverage of the star's death, with the outlet describing "intensive coverage" by news outlets with "no cohesive narrative."
Instead, rumors and gossip flooded every void available to the news media. Suddenly, everyone was an expert on toxicology reports and could successfully theorize on the private life of an actor they'd never met. When true stories about the actor were finally published, they stood out. Some stories were still devastating, but others proved the star to be kind and fascinating, a rare talent dealing with a difficult time and struggling, without the rest of the world seeing. Here's what we learned about Ledger after he died.