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Heath's Dad on Cause -- "Drugs Proved Lethal"

2/6/2008 12:56 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Heath Ledger's father has issued a statement following the release of the Medical Examiner's report:
Heath and Dad
"We remain humble as parents and a family, among millions of people worldwide who may have suffered the tragic loss of a child. Few can understand the hollow, wrenching, and enduring agony parents silently suffer when a child predeceases them. Today's results put an end to speculation, but our son's beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts.

While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath's accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.

Our family enjoyed an extremely happy two week visit with Heath just prior to the New Year. Those recent precious days will stay with us forever. We as a family feel privileged to have some of his amazing magic moments captured in film. To most of the world Heath was an actor of immeasurable talent and promise. To those who knew him personally, Heath was a consummate artist whose passions also included photography, music, chess and directing. We knew Heath as a loving father, as our devoted son, and as a loyal and generous brother and friend.

We treasure our beautiful granddaughter Matilda (to our dear Michelle) as well as an unbelievably wonderful network of close friends, forever, around the world. Families rarely experience the uplifting, warm and massive outpouring of grief and support as have we, from every corner of the planet. This has deeply and profoundly touched our hearts and lives. We are eternally grateful.

At this moment we respectfully request the worldwide media allow us time to grieve privately, without the intrusions associated with press and photography.

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#54 (grieving daughter) My best friend also accidentally od'd on legally prescribed meds, actually she was killed by her doctor in my opinion. The doctor prescribed her some meds but the pharmacy where she gets them all filled noticed that two of them would probably not be good together and called the doctor. The doctor told them to fill them anyway that it wouldn't hurt her. Needless to say the doc was wrong... my best friend is now dead leaving behind a beautiful daughter who will now, not only grow up fatherless, but without her mother also.
Don't judge unless you have the facts and in the cases of celebrities nobody ever gets all the facts right.
God bless Heaths family and friends.

2419 days ago

Sad fan    

I still cannot figure out why I am so saddened by all of this. Maybe because when I watch movies like 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's TaIe or The Brothers Grimm will always be reminded of his premature death. (I was never a fan of Brokeback Mountain but I appreciate the heroicness of his performance).
I have lost friends at young ages with accidental deaths. Bright and beautiful people. The families were completely destroyed.
Heath Ledger seemed to be a private individual and it's respectable that his family is really trying to honor that. Maybe something, however, will come from this publicized tragedy. Everyone needs to be completely forthcoming with their physicians on the medications that they are prescribed from other physicians. It appears as though Heath was prescribed medications in Europe as well as the US, Mthan likely that leads one to believe that these physicians didn't know one another. Another is that people should seek psychiatric help beyond their GP (general practicioners) as these physician's are not specialized in depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorders etc. The drugs prescribed for these medications can cause permanent neurological and brain damage if not taken properly. And as we see with Heath's death that the mixtures are fatal-even in the lowest of dosages. If one can, use the same pharmacy as it is the best way to double check adverse effects of multiple medications. I know pharmacists that have caught these lethal mistakes that doctor's make as it is the pharmacists job to understand the physiological and metabolical process that these medication can do.
Matilda looks so much like her father. It will be a wonderful reminder of him. To his family and Michelle: I can't imagine your pain. I hope everyone that you speak with is supportive and does not try to "educate" you on what he should have done to cope with his conditions. He will be missed even by the people that were never so lucky to know him. Hopefully his family will take that to heart.

2419 days ago


Some of the remarks are just heartless. Remeber when Heath told people he had a sleeping problem? Even Jack N. warned him. The poor man was trying to get some sleep. Not get high! There is a difference. But, it cost him his life.

He made a mistake. If you only had slept 2 hours in a week what the hell would you do? He was not stupid just needed
some sleep. We all have demons. Let he who is without any sins throw the first stones. Now leave him the hell alone!

2419 days ago


Ths is far more common than many people realize. My husband died in the same way. From taking pain medication for a back injury resulting from playing with our kids in the pool. FDA really needs to monitor and regulate these combinations.

2419 days ago


To #52...Ann....Oxycontin is not just prescribed to people who are in pain from cancer. It is given to anyone in pain. I think he had multiple doctors and so each one didn't know what the other prescribed. Mistakes happen. I am just sorry Heath had to pay the price.

2419 days ago



2419 days ago

appauled by the stalkarazzi    

Rest in Peace Heath. I so enoyed your movies and will miss your incredible talent on the big screen.

So glad they finally released the toxicology reports and the cruel rumors of you being an adict are put to rest!

2419 days ago


You were the best Heath, the world lost an angel. Thanks for everything...never ever will forget you that I promise.

2419 days ago

black_rose_kk from italy    

ohhh... so finally they'll stop saying he was a drugs addicted actor dead for abusing them... now, heath ledger, rest in peace. You'll never be forgotten by people who really appreciate your works. You'll live throughout films, 'cause there's something good in hollywood: Stars have a long long long time, longer than life.

2419 days ago


I'm sick of MK Olsen "partying" while acting like butter does not melt in her mouth.

Why does the press let her get away while breathing down everyone else's nexks and even writing false stories about them.

2419 days ago

Disco Duck    

Nothing but a drug addict.

Locked up in his bedroom overdosing on drugs.

It was NO accident.

2419 days ago


Health's death is tragic - a life lost @ such a young age.

While I don't celebrate the misfortunes of anyone, let his death not be in vain. Health Ledger died fr an ACCIDENTAL OVER-DOSE. MEANING: Health Ledger had a problem w/ anxiety disorder & depression. As a result, he was also experiencing sleep deprivation(a common side effect). He had gone to obviously a few diff dr's here in the USA & ABROAD(outside the usa).These dr's prescribed respective medications for him in treatment. WHAT ARE THE ODDS that Health informed THAT dr of all other respective dr's he was seeing & what he was prescribed(med itself, potenancy & dosage)? In addition, WHAT ARE THE ODDS that Health contacted the PRESCRIBING PHYSCIAN to let him/her know THE POTENCY & DOSAGE PRESCRIBED was not working? Remember, he gave an interview & described the sleeping prob he had. He stated he took 1 Ativan & it didn't work. He immediately took another 1 & only got 1-2 hrs sleep? THAT IS SELF MEDICATION & very dangerous. & I guarantee that type of SELF MEDICATING BEHAVIOR w/ the SLEEP AIDS was not Health's only one. WHAT ARE THE ODDS that Health was in THERAPY for his anxiety disorder & depression - opposed to just getting a band aid for it & going to a practicing physcian for the prescription? The ANSWER IS - NONE. I am almost certain, the variety of dr's he saw (how ever many that may be) didn't know about the others & what was prescribed. By no means do I imply anything devious on Health's part per say. I do say I am almost certain - the 1 dr in usa never spoke to lets say the dr in Australia to compare notes about Health's illness/s & respective prescribed medications. I am also almost certain, when the respective prescribed dosage for any given med didn't work - Health didn't call the dr to get an adjustment(ex: the Ativan).

Yes there are DR'S in the world that shouldn't be dr's - Ana Nicole Smith's dr is a perfect example. Some dr's probably get caught up in the entire CELEBRATY THING. Yes, there are also medications prescribed that in combination, can be dangerous also - I agree. Responsibiltiy falls on 2 parts: the dr & the patient. No ethical dr alive would provide conflicting medications that would induce a patient's death.

I don't mean to sound harsh - honest. There are many people suffering fr anxiety disorder & depression. Of those people, there are some who self medicate: go to diff dr's getting multiple prescriptions for the same thing & when a respective dosage doesn't work - instead of going back to the medical professionals - they INCREASE THE DOSAGE THEMSELVES - never thinking SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN TO ME. I am sure Health didn't think so either.

If a person is experiencing anxiety disorder & or depression, seek professional help. If you are prescribed a medication & the dosage you were prescibed isn't working - go back to the dr who wrote the script - they are the medical professionals - don't take it upon yourself to increase the dosage - cause in the midst of the worst of anxiety disorder & depression, it would be very easy to get carried away. Don't over medicate yourself - taking a lge variety of things(sleep aids, multiple variety of anxiety med & depress meds, pain killers) to numb you or get relief. That won't do anything but get you addicted - it won't solve whatever issues you may have - its a temporary fix. Don't drink alcohol when on these very strong medications - that can be dangerous. It is so easy to assume NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO ME. Sadly, Health's death is proof that isn't true. Pls be responsible.

God bless health & his family.


2419 days ago


ok whoever the hell "Missy" is that keeps on commenting, why dont you get a life and leave your retarded comments to yourself. someone likes hearing themself talk, unfortunately the rest of the world doesn't !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2418 days ago


I am so sad for Heath's family & friends & dear little Matilda and Michelle. I hope all the press and paps honor their request and let them grieve. Heath was a great actor and will live on in all our hearts and his movies will always reminds us of his great talent. May he rest in peace! Thank you TMZ for giving his fans an outlet to express how we feel.

2418 days ago


I realize that you all have a right to your opinion, but can you please be respectful and argue somewhere else. At least out of respect for his loved ones.

2418 days ago
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