Michelle Williams, Cate Blanchett, Gemma Ward and Heath Ledger’s family joined hundreds of mourners at a memorial for the actor in Australia on Saturday (February 9), according to Australian paper The Age.
“It’s a pretty sad time. We’re finding it difficult to cope,” Ledger’s father Kim said on Saturday morning (according to People.com), before heading to the memorial at Penrhos College, a boarding school outside the family’s hometown of Perth, which Ledger’s sister Kate had attended. Ledger died in New York on January 22 .
At the memorial, Williams wore sunglasses and appeared grief-stricken, People.com reported. She held Kate Ledger’s hand as they walked into the school. Ledger’s parents arrived afterward. Matilda, Heath’s 2-year-old daughter with Williams, was not seen among the mourners.
At least 300 people attended the service, including Australian actors Bryan Brown and soccer stars Ben Cousins and David Wirrpanda, both friends of Heath’s.
At the beginning of the ceremony, songs were played, including “These Days” by Australian band Powderfinger, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and a song by the Shins, according to People.com.
Kate Ledger addressed the mourners as a video montage played to the accompaniment of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”
A mourner told The Age, “Kate spoke of the unique bond she shared with her brother, how he would ring her three or four times a day and how he never forgot his friends even at the height of his fame.”
Another video montage featured Matilda and was accompanied by Ben Harper’s “Happily Ever After In Your Eyes,” which he reportedly wrote expressly for her. (Ledger had directed a video for Harper, and the two formed a record label last year called Masses Music Co.)
Afterward, footage from Ledger’s film work was shown. Oscar winner Blanchett spoke to the audience about her sadness at the loss of a gifted actor and fellow Australian, whose “great potential” would not be realized, a mourner told The Age.
A friend montage followed, accompanied by the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979″ (the year the actor was born), and then a family montage was set to Neil Young’s “Old Man.”
Ledger’s remains were cremated after the service, according to People.com. Williams (who was escorted by police) and members of Ledger’s family attended the small service at Fremantle Cemetery. Williams read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), according to the site.
A small wake was held at a restaurant beside the ocean, and the site reported that at sunset, about 50 people attending the wake, including Williams and Ledger’s sister, took a splash in the ocean at sunset. “Hip-hip hooray! Hip-hip hooray!” Kim Ledger reportedly shouted from the restaurant’s balcony.
“It’s exactly what Heath would have wanted,” one mourner told the site as he climbed out of the water.
For more on Heath Ledger’s tragic passing, read reactions from his peers and other admirers , as well as casting directors he worked with. Also, watch Ledger talk about his evolution as an actor in a 2005 interview with MTV News .