Young, cocksure, handsome and absurdly talented, Australian actor Heath Ledger shot to prominence with his first Hollywood film "10 Things I Hate About You": and a star was born. With huge charisma and smouldering looks lighting up the screen in a series of subsequent films, Heath was soon established as Hollywood A-list, dating a series of beauties such as Heather Graham and Naomi Watts, and living every young man's dream.
But it was his award-winning and controversial role as Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain" that cemented his place in the pantheon of acting greats - he was one of the youngest people ever to be nominated for an Oscar. And it was on the set of this film that he fell in love with his co-star Michelle Williams.
Though the relationship wasn't to last, the couple had a daughter in 2005. With the world at his feet and a film-stealing turn in the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight", in the can, there was worldwide shock and disbelief when the news broke that he had been found dead in his New York apartment on 22 January 2008. Prescription drugs, found next to his dead body, were thought to be the cause, but mystery surrounded the circumstances. Was it an accidental death? Or were the pressures of life in the spotlight too great to bear?
What is certain is that this young man, who touched the lives of so many people, leaves behind a grief-stricken public and family, including a two-year-old daughter. This is the tragic story of the brilliant actor whose light shone so brightly but all too briefly upon the world.
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Too based on press coverage
- S. Morrow