Medical examiner rules Ledger’s death “acute intoxication”

Heath LedgerA report released today by New York City Chief Medical Examiner Charles S. Hirsch states that Heath Ledger‘s death was an accident. The report reads: “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), diazepam (Valium), temazepam (Restoril), alprazolam (Xanax), and doxylamine (an active ingredient in Nyquil). We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.” His father, Kim Ledger, released a statement from his home in Australia, that read: “While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Today’s results put an end to speculation, but our son’s beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts.”

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Nancy • February 6, 2008 @ 11:00 AM

    Not my opinion of an accident!! All the medications listed in the article except for the Nyquil were ‘prescriptions’. Prescriptions require a pharmacist to fill them and the pharmacist is ‘supposed to’ either tell you not to take them all at once or tell you what dosage could be fatal. Not informing the patient is FAULT, and the patient not listening is NO ACCIDENT.

  2. Sean Mulcahy • February 6, 2008 @ 11:04 AM

    I agree with you, Nancy. Taking 5 or 6 different kinds of pills all at once is no accident. It’s either stupidity or suicide. I vote for the latter.

  3. Nancy • February 6, 2008 @ 11:06 AM

    Then again….the Nyquil could have been the fatal dose…..but it is the patients responsibility to ask the Dr. or pharmacist if the over-the-counter medication will interact with the prescription meds. Ah well, it’s too late now!

  4. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 11:09 AM

    I agree, but he could have been using several different pharmacies, considering he travelled a lot. But it was his responsibility to ask a pharmacist if it is safe to take them together. I still can’t see it being suicide, he loved his little girl so much I can’t see him wanting to leave her, but then again, you never know what goes through people’s heads. Personally, I think it was probably stupidity on his part, and that’s such a shame, a lot of people (his family especially) have been so hurt by this.

  5. Sean Mulcahy • February 6, 2008 @ 11:12 AM

    Sadly, overdoses are more often suicidal than accidental. Statistics prove that. Many of us are refusing to even consider the possibility that it might be suicide. That’s understandable since a suicide may well tarnish the image people have of him. And if a guy who apparently had it all still ends up a suicide, well, that’s a scary thought.

  6. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 11:44 AM

    I don’t think we are refusing to consider suicide, it could very well have been just that. But to me, it just doesn’t seem right. He was very much in love with his daughter, it doesn’t seem right that he would want to never see her again, and I don’t think there were any real hard feelings between him & Michelle, not to the point where she’d keep the child from him anyway. Maybe it was suicide, but I don’t think so.

  7. Anonymous • February 6, 2008 @ 11:49 AM

    I think you live and you learn. Let it be a lesson that mixing any type of meds ( prescription or otherwise) is not a good idea!!! Many people never intend for the result to be death, sometimes it just happens!

  8. Sean Mulcahy • February 6, 2008 @ 11:50 AM

    Sometimes the love of a child is not enough. And sometimes the child has nothing to do with it. People kill themselves for a lot less than that. The way you put it, about “never wanting to see her again”, you make it seem that his possible suicide was directed at his little girl. That’s what you make it sound like.

  9. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 11:53 AM

    Well, that’s not how I meant it. What I meant was, maybe you are right and maybe it WAS suicide, but I don’t think it was. I think just the thoughts of never seeing her again would be enough to make him want to live. I know the love of a child is not always enough, but he was very much a “Dad”, I don’t think he would have done this on purpose.

  10. Sean Mulcahy • February 6, 2008 @ 12:04 PM

    Sorry, tributegirl, didn’t mean to offend you. Well, sadly, we will never truly know.

  11. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 12:09 PM

    Don’t worry about it, Sean, I know I am not very good at expressing my thoughts, I try, but sometimes it does come out wrong. I just wanted to make sure what I said wasn’t taken out of context. I agree, we will never really know the truth, a lot of stories will come out, and we will never know which are true and which aren’t. So all we can do is speculate, I guess. And if we can voice our opinions here, in a mature & accepting manner, that’s cool.

  12. Nancy • February 6, 2008 @ 12:15 PM

    See, that’s the way it should be! Each of you have your own differing opinions and you both accept that. At least Sean didn’t call you derogatory names because of it.

  13. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 12:22 PM

    True, I read what you were going through, that was nasty! Thankfully it looks like Tribute may be deleting some of it. Either that or I’m not going back far enough. No, I think if a person can’t be mature enough to accept a difference of opinion, and maybe even respond to it, in a respectable manner, then they have no business voicing their own opinions.

  14. Nancy • February 6, 2008 @ 12:29 PM

    Yup, we sure are keeping the coppers at Tribute busy….between us and the double, they must have their hands full. Never a dull moment! I wonder if they sit back and laugh their heads off? Maybe one of THEM is the double……..??????????

  15. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 12:35 PM

    Hmm. Do you seriously think that is a possibility? I doubt it, but you never know, it would be job security for them, wouldn’t it! I imagine they must laugh, I would be if some of the nasty comments didn’t p*ss me off so much! Anyway, it’s nice that some of the crap is being deleted.

  16. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 12:35 PM

    By the way, how are you feeling since your surgery? Healing up well I hope.

  17. Sean Mulcahy • February 6, 2008 @ 12:49 PM

    I absolutely agree with both of you. If thoughts and opinions cannot be expressed in a respectful way, then they should not be expressed at all. Trolls are everywhere, unfortunately.

  18. Nancy • February 6, 2008 @ 12:52 PM

    I feel great, thanx! I ended up with a bladder infection from the catheter but it is hopefully gone now. I could not swallow those big ‘horse pill’ anti-biotics, so my Dr. gave me this really disgusting liquid. That really sucked! I would rather have choked on the ‘horse pills’!! LOL.

  19. Lorna • February 6, 2008 @ 2:05 PM

    Suicide? Acident?
    What difference does it make (except to the insurers)?
    Heath is gone and for most of us that’s the real tragedy here.

  20. Karen • February 6, 2008 @ 2:18 PM

    I hope they look into this a little further. If the pharmacy is at fault then it should be known. All should know what they take and if they are allowed to mix their pills or to take them separately. That’s what a pharmacist is for. If the US is anything like Canada. Then no matter where you go and fill a prescription, all pills you take should be in the computer. That’s a deadly mix right there. I couldn’t believe that list of pills. Sorry if I sound like a Doctor here Anon but I take quite a few myself for some health problems. Believe me, I know what I can and cannot do. I have a kid to think about. This is so sad. This could have been prevented so easily with a little knowledge.

    If only, I dislike these two words. A little too late. Well, I hope everyone learns from this and know what they are allowed to mix and not mix. That includes asking your doctor or pharmacist if you can take other stuff as well. Like non prescribed medication. Its not a laughing matter and I am serious. I take vitamins and herbal pills as well and I ask if I am allowed to take them with my meds.

    Take care everyone.

  21. Sean Mulcahy • February 6, 2008 @ 2:36 PM

    This lady I knew had a whole series of ailments and took many different kinds of pills a day. You can bet that her doctor and her pharmacist told her everything about which pills to take together, or not, and so on. Some people actually do unknowingly mix the wrong meds or take too many. It happens. But that is, more often than not, with old people. But a young 28 year old who doesn’t know what he is taking and accidentaly mixes them up? Hmmmm, something doesn’t sound quite right there.

  22. Mother of 1 • February 6, 2008 @ 3:08 PM

    IT IS OVER! Let the man rest in Peace…it happened, let the man’s soul rest with some dignity intact…it could have happened to anyone, unfortunately it happened to someone who was famous and known all around the world, we just need to move on. I am not saying I am a cold person, but really, how much longer do we really need to keep dredging up poor Heath’s Death? Time to move on.

  23. tributegirl • February 6, 2008 @ 3:29 PM

    You are right, Mother of 1, but we ARE here to talk about it, and if you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t have to. Some of us rather enjoy talking to people about these things, sharing opinions & viewpoints, etc. I know I do. But don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t be long and there will be new celebrity gossip for us to talk about.
    Bladder infection, yech, I’ve had those at least once a year since I was 2 years old, and had it really bad after my 1st 2 deliveries, and after my hyst last year. NOT fun, I feel for ya.

  24. Anonymous • February 6, 2008 @ 7:04 PM

    Heath ledgers story is so sad, once again a seemingly happy person is dogged to their death bed by the paparazzi. If you look in news reports he was always a person who liked his privacy, and the lack of it that he recieved, was likley part of the cause of his depression.

  25. tributegirl • February 7, 2008 @ 11:16 AM

    You are such an idiot. Just because you are going to hell, doesn’t mean he is. How do you know what happened? Maybe he took one or two pills, which made him disoriented enough that he didn’t remember taking them and thought he needed to take them. There IS such a thing as accidental overdose.

  26. Arnold • February 7, 2008 @ 6:22 PM

    Has anyone thought of the distinct possibility that he was going to pharmacies all over the world? No one said it was just in the U.S. If it was all over the world, then no wonder the pharmacists didn’t tell him anything, they probably didn’t know what else he was already on, and he probably couldn’t pronounce all those big words! And take a look at the names of drugs these days, they are so long and confusing, anyone could mix them up.

    And what happened to my comment up above? The one where I apparently pi$$ed tributegirl off, judging by her comment?

  27. Arnold • February 7, 2008 @ 10:22 PM

    Hey double they have anti moron logic in the system. The system does a check against the content of the message and judges the electrical charge in between posters ears. That’s what happened to your post.
    You are in need of a jolt of lightning to get that pack of flesh masquerading as a brain between your ears to ignite.

  28. Anonymous • February 8, 2008 @ 1:36 AM

    the guy was suppose to be reasonably intelligent, yet he mixed prescription drugs. how many different doctors wrote the prescriptions and pharmacists filled them? it’s not the first time a person has gone to different doctors to get their drugs of choice.

  29. deborah stalker • February 8, 2008 @ 7:11 AM

    anyone with common sense knows that oxy’s alone are enough to give you a buzz, let alone adding all thoses other pills to the mixture….here in oshawa those oxy’s cost you a fortune on the street. to mix them with other prescriptions is down right stupidity…..

  30. sandie • February 8, 2008 @ 7:38 AM

    i agree with an above statement, sometimes the love of a child is NOT enough. it wasn’t for my ex who tried to kill himself a week after we broke up. and he has a beautiful little 1 1/2 year old daughter who he claims to adore. we will never know what was going on in Heath Ledger’s head before this happened. All we know is that another great actor has died WAY too young.

  31. tributegirl • February 8, 2008 @ 8:48 AM

    Well, the one thing that will never change is the fact that we will never really know what happened, what was going on in his head, whether it was an accident or suicide. All we can do is speculate and form our own opinions. And the other thing that will never change is the fact that he is gone forever. And I think that is such a shame, he has a sweet little girl who will never get to know him, plus for all the rest of us he was a great actor, provided some really good entertainment for us.
    Arnold, don’t worry about it. This idiot is doing it to all of us. We know your style, and when something stupid is said in your name, we know it isn’t you. So chill, buddy, and hopefully idiot double will soon get bored and go away.

  32. LEE KYLE • February 8, 2008 @ 9:23 AM

    Well i dont feel it was suicidal however it may be just a very stupid and costly mistake on Ledger’s part, i know i have on occasion been really sick of being sick and pretty much took everything i had in the counter to try and stupidly “burn” it out.

  33. tributegirl • February 8, 2008 @ 9:52 AM

    Yeah, same here, and now that I’m older I see how stupid and dangerous it can be. I still don’t think it was suicide, I think it was a really really stupid accident. I know not all people who commit suicide leave a note, but I think most do, so don’t you think he’d have left a note to Matilda, or his parents?

  34. Anonymous • February 8, 2008 @ 10:04 AM

    Unbelievable!! How about laying off the suicide comments and let the man RIP!!!!

  35. tributegirl • February 8, 2008 @ 10:11 AM

    Because we are here to talk about it. If you don’t want to talk about it, go somewhere else. That’s what this forum is for. And we are letting him RIP, we are just talking about him, not disturbing his grave or anything (not that he actually has one yet-I don’t think anyway-hey, let’s go check it out!heeheehee!)

  36. Jennifer • February 8, 2008 @ 11:33 AM

    I cannot believe people are actually commenting about the education of the prescriptions. Did you ever think that maybe it was lost in translation, like “He” didn’t even pick up the prescription. My mom or my husband pick up prescriptions for me all the time.

    How about, this is a huge upset, because if you are a Health Ledger fan, or have even only seen one of his films, he was an incredibly talented acter, and from interviews a very “HUMBLE” individual. This is an upset and an outrage. We have lost a Father, Son, and Good role model. I felt over whelmed when I heard it, so I cannot imagine how people who new him casualy and personaly felt. The industry has suffered a great loss. I am especially sad for Matilda.

  37. Anonymous • February 8, 2008 @ 4:36 PM

    who cares who picked up the actual prescriptions? most prescriptions from legitimate pharmacists come with info sheets that tell you about possible conflicts with other meds.

    even without them, most people have seen enough commercials on tv telling you to consult with your doctor or not to take such and such drug if you’re taking some other drugs etc.

    for such a savvy guy, he really screwed up here, or did he?

  38. Janice • February 8, 2008 @ 5:31 PM

    Jennifer I agree with you. As we can see The Media and Xray love to point out the worst in people. How so perfect Xray. The pot calling the kettle black eh. May Heath R.I.P. He will be missed by his true fans and may God be with Matilda and his family. It is such a shame he will not be able to see the love of his life (Matilda) grow up and she experiencing the great love he had for her. People BAD things happen to Good People. No one is perfect.

    We will Miss You Heath. Such a short life but what a great impact.

    Die hard Fan

  39. Monique • February 8, 2008 @ 6:26 PM

    No matter if it was an accident or not..
    I’m just sad he’s gone & feel terrible for his family.

  40. Anonymous • February 9, 2008 @ 6:36 PM


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  42. JM • February 15, 2008 @ 3:35 PM

    You know, I am 60years old and just know at this age starting been scared and apprehensive of taking whatever medication. When I was young I never doubted even for a moment that what a doctor would give you would kill you. On the contrary. And never thought much about the dosage either, taking more pills once they stopped working which is always the case with insomnia, constant chronic pain, depression.. So I do not think he did it on purpose, neither to get high. He was working not stop and playing not only difficult unusual roles but very disturbing once, which is his last role . It is said that it did not permit him to sleep and took a toll on his health. Jack Nickolson confirmed it for this role too that is scary exhausting. And Heath was a great actor and a very committed one to his craft although his young age. Obviously to follow Jack’s step with the same role was not easy and was quite torturing him. To add his break-up with Michelle which all his friends said was devastated for him. So his was overworked and emotionally drained and tired and depressed and alone. In such condition even the most reasonable once do not think of dosage and if this medicine works or not with the other. It was obviously on the spur of the moment decision to ease up whatever pain and worry he had at that moment. He even booked a massage- to ease up as je probably had to be in shape to work..
    So I think it is pretty clear that was a sad accident. He had a history of drug abuse in his past and it was obviously difficult for him but everyone said he cleaned up his act once his daughter was born whom she really loved more than everything in the world and would not leave her voluntarily , no way..

  43. JM • February 15, 2008 @ 4:03 PM

    if somebody douts that a role can actually be disturbing I can vouch that it could be. When I was young I played in a film and I had scenes with huge dogs which followed me on camera. I was so terified after one of the workers was hurt by one of these dogs that I lost sleep for weeks and had nightmares whenever I slept. And mind you actors have more sensitive and fragile spririts than most people have.
    Also when you shoot scenes out of the ordinary you think about the next day shoot and how to deliver, you “practice”it in your head and it does not allow your brains to come down and go to sleep – what I saw that is what he was doing. I saw on tv a piece where he was trying and looking for different ways of laughting and expressions to make the Joker’s laugh and mimics more unique. Have you seen the trail?-he is really scary in this part and better than Jack but obviously it turned against him.
    Another point -did you see that all the medicines were for insomnia, depression and for a flu? No methadone or anything like that. He had a very bad cold or flu too on the top of everything. And not having time for “being sick” cause they are usually under the gun with every picture to finish it on time he had to self-cure himself with what he had and knew helped him in the past when it was prescriped for him-he was armed with everything and knew what is for what and went ahead and tried to solve it as quick as possible. That I have been doing all my life.
    Such loss.. Incredible actor, we would have seen so much more from what he was capable of..
    I went and watched again and again Brockback mountain on the movie channel now because of him and it is him who makes the movie and he is so great in that movie..If you have not seen him in other movies like Casanova or 10 things I hate about you, you would think that his personality is like what he is in Brockback Mauntain-quiet, keep to yourself, locked emotions but sick once he is by himself of bottling them in, simple,humble. No, that was the role he played so well that you believed that is him in real life. He was so great. If it was not in such heavy weights company they would have given him the Oscar which he so deserved for it.
    What a loss!
    I am a huge movie fan, watching and recording everything movies and he is a big loss for all of us..

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