More details have emerged regarding the death of Heath Ledger in a New York apartment on Tuesday , providing insight into the 28-year-old Australian actor’s final hours.
According to The Associated Press, police estimate Ledger’s time of death between 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Ledger’s housekeeper, Teresa Solomon, said she arrived at the apartment at around 12:30 p.m., and approximately 30 minutes later entered the actor’s bedroom to change a light bulb and found him lying in bed, face down, with a sheet pulled up to his shoulders. Solomon told police she heard Ledger snoring and left the room, thinking nothing was wrong.
A massage therapist, Diana Wolozin, arrived just before 3 p.m. for a scheduled appointment, the AP reports. When Ledger failed to answer his bedroom door, Wolozin said she called his cell phone; there was no answer. The masseuse told police she then entered Ledger’s bedroom and began setting up her massage table. Then, according to the wire service, Wolozin attempted to stir the actor from his sleep, but he was unresponsive. She told police that Ledger’s body was cold to the touch.
The New York Post reported that police who responded to the scene suspected Ledger had been dead for some time, due to the lividity of the body (the manner in which blood settles after a person dies).
According to the AP, Wolozin grabbed Ledger’s cell phone and called Mary-Kate Olsen, a friend of Ledger’s, seeking advice, (the Post reported that the two were an item). Olsen, who was on the West Coast at the time, summoned private security guards to the apartment to assess the situation. After attempting to wake Ledger again, Wolozin called Olsen back and told her she believed he was dead; Wolozin eventually called 911 just before 3:30 p.m. and told them Ledger was not breathing. The AP claims the emergency operator on the other end instructed the masseuse on how to perform CPR. Paramedics arrived at the scene minutes later, as did the security guards.
CNN reported that medical technicians at the scene administered CPR on the body and used a cardiac defibrillator in an unsuccessful attempt to revive him; the actor was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m.
These new details surfaced as Ledger’s former fiancée, actress Michelle Williams, returned to New York with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Matilda. On Wednesday night, Williams returned to her Brooklyn home (which she’d formerly shared with Ledger), where her mother, Carla, and actress Busy Phillips, Williams’ former “Dawson’s Creek” co-star and Matilda’s godmother, were waiting to console her, according to the Post.
According to the AP, funeral arrangements have been made for the actor. His family, the wire service reports, is expected to arrive in New York on Friday. George Amado, the general manager of the Frank E. Campbell funeral home, where Ledger’s body was taken Wednesday, would not provide specific details about the impending funeral.
On Wednesday, the results of a preliminary autopsy on Ledger’s body were inconclusive . Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for New York’s medical examiner’s office, told MTV News more tests were needed to determine the official cause of death. An official pronouncement of the cause of Ledger’s death could come early next month. Police involved in the investigation have speculated that Ledger’s death was the result of an accidental drug overdose.
On Wednesday, police confirmed earlier reports that crime-scene technicians had found in the apartment a $20 bill rolled in a manner common among cocaine users, but New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN on Thursday that tests on the bill recovered from the scene came back negative for drug residue.
In addition, police told the AP that no illegal drugs were recovered from the apartment. According to the wire service, two anonymous law enforcement officials claim they had found six different prescription drugs in the apartment — including ones to treat insomnia and anxiety, along with an antihistamine. On Wednesday, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly declined to provide a list of the medications police had seized as evidence, saying, “Some of them were sleeping pills, in essence, and some other drugs were there as well. … We are going to wait for the toxicology report,” the results from which could take weeks, according to one police source.
Ledger’s family has responded to media speculation about Heath’s death, asking that the world wait for the medical examiner to make a determination before jumping to conclusions. The family also denied Ledger was using drugs, as has been widely reported.
Haydn Ledger, one of Heath’s uncles, told CBS’ “The Early Show” that his nephew would not have done anything to risk his life. “It just wouldn’t come into the equation at all,” he said. Both he and Mike Ledger — another of the actor’s uncles — deferred questions about Ledger’s mental state, saying they’d be best answered by his parents.
A publicist for Ledger told CNN on Thursday that the actor had been battling the flu and was prescribed antibiotics while filming scenes for “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” in London. Production on the film reportedly shut down abruptly after Ledger’s death .
Also on Thursday, TMZ.com released a video capturing a distraught Helena Christensen, who, according to some media reports, was romantically involved with Ledger. The model said she was “really, really devastated,” and sends “all my love” to Ledger’s family.
The West Australian, based in Ledger’s hometown of Perth, published an interview with model Sophie Ward, the sister of model Gemma Ward (and who Ledger may have been involved with), in which she claims Ledger did not have a drug problem. She told the paper he’d been back in Australia during the holidays, and she didn’t see him take a sip of alcohol over several nights spent out on the town.
“He was clean and wasn’t drinking any alcohol or taking drugs,” Ward said. “He smoked cigarettes, but that’s about it. He was drinking diet Coke when we were together, and he said he was very committed to not drinking alcohol. I don’t believe he took his own life deliberately.”
Ward did say Ledger seemed upset about his split with Williams, and expressed a desire to spend more time with his daughter.
“He was a bit edgy — he couldn’t really relax,” she said. “He said he was going to London but was quite upset because he couldn’t see his daughter as much as he’d like to. He was traveling so much, and I think he was just frustrated with it all.”
(Watch family and friends mourn Heath Ledger in New York on Friday, see him talk about his evolution as an actor in a 2005 interview with MTV News, and read his colleagues’ and admirers’ reactions about the tragic news right here .)