NEW YORK - Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan apartment, naked in bed with sleeping pills nearby, police said. The Australian-born actor was 28. It wasn't immediately clear if Ledger had committed suicide.
He had an appointment for a massage at a residence in the tony neighborhood of SoHo, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. A housekeeper who went to let him know the massage therapist had arrived found him dead at 3:26 p.m.
A large crowd of paparazzi and gawkers gathered outside the building on an upscale block. Ledger's body was still inside, and several police officers guarded the door.His movie career caught on anyway, culminating with his Academy Award nomination opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback."
"Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan said earlier this month that Ledger's performance as the Joker would be wildly different than Jack Nicholson's memorable turn in 1989's "Batman."
"It was a very great challenge for Heath," Nolan said. "He's extremely original, extremely frightening, tremendously edgy. A very young character, a very anarchic presence that taps into a lot of our basic fears and panic."
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