I only know Heath Ledger from his movies but because he’s from Perth, it feels like he was more than a stranger on film and TV. Because he comes back to Perth at least once a year to see his parents who live a few suburbs away from me, it felt like I could have bumped into him at the local mall even.
The first thing that hit me when I saw the news this morning was: it can’t possibly be suicide. I felt that even if it’s suicide it could have only been that the sleeping pills that he had been taking, Ambien has been known to cause depression. I thought that he can’t possibly be depressed about anything else otherwise.
He loved his daughter Matilda, whom he had with Michelle Williams. Plus he sounded genuinely happy when he was back here during Christmas with girlfriend, Perth model Gemma Ward. He’d called a local reporter and left this message for him:
“I don’t know whether it’s a conscious thing or an unconscious thing, giving me space and respecting my privacy,” he told the newspaper.
“It’s just been awesome.
“And I’ve had the most beautiful time back here and being able to see all my friends and family, let alone the press and the people within the community of Perth, it’s been so lovely.
“It’s really enabled me to be a boy again from home and feel like I’d never left.
“It’s truly been an incredibly therapeutic and a much-needed trip home and just that little touch has made it all that more special to me.”
The other possibility is accident. When speaking about playing The Joker on the next Batman film, Heath mentioned about needing help to sleep and that one tablet doesn’t do it for him.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.
Until the coroner’s report is available, we don’t know how long he was dead for (his body was found around 3pm NY time). For all we know he could have died during the night before. Was he that desperate for sleep that he took more than he should? Did the pills and his pneumonia cause a bad reaction?
Whatever the case, a lot of people will miss him especially here in Western Australia. A goddamn bloody shame when his turn as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” is so highly anticipated.