No details are available yet, but here’s an article from the New York Times:
The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment building at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, according to the New York City police. Mr. Ledger was 28.
At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A in the building for an appointment with Mr. Ledger, the police said. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger unconscious. They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. The police said they did not suspect foul play and said they found pills near body.
Mr. Ledger, a native of Perth, Australia, won acclaim for his role as a co-star in â€œBrokeback Mountainâ€, a 2005 film. The film, based on a short story by Annie Proulx about two cowboys who fall in love, won critical acclaim. Reviewing the film in The New York Times, the critic Stephen Holden wrote, â€œMr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.â€
Calls by The New York Times to Mara Buxbaum, a publicist for Mr. Ledger, and Steve Alexander, the actor’s agent, were not immediately returned this afternoon.
UPDATE: As could be ascertained by the “found pills” statement in the original NY Times story, most signs are pointing to suicide. with Ledger’s friend telling US Magazine that “we saw it coming”:
“Heath has gone though a rough road of trying to get sober,” the source tells Us.
“Things were very dark,” the source says. “His one joy was Matilda.” Matilda is his 2-year-old daughter with ex-wife Michelle Williams. They split in September.
“Everything else was misery for him,” adds the source. “Unfortunately he was too late in getting help.”