A medical examiner says that toxicology reports indicate that the actor died of an accidental overdose on prescription drugs
The New York City medical examiner reported on Wednesday (Feb. 6) that actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, according to multiple reports. In a statement, the examiner said he died ”as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.” Those are the generic names for drugs often marketed as brand name painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin, the anti-anxiety medications Valium and Xanax, the sleep aid Restoril, and the sedating antihistimine sleep aid Unisom. There was no explanation for why the death was determined ”accidental.”
TVGuide.com reported on Wednesday that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has asked for copies of Ledger’s autopsy as well as the original police report from the crime scene as part of an investigation into how he obtained the prescription drugs that led to his overdose.
Ledger’s housekeeper, along with a massage therapist, discovered his body lying face down in his Manhattan apartment on Jan. 22. Law enforcement officials said several different kinds of prescription pills were found at the scene, including pills to treat insomnia and anxiety, and an antihistamine. Police said no illegal drugs were found.
Police announced on Jan. 23, a day after the actor’s body was discovered, that an initial autopsy proved inconclusive.
Ledger earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. He most recently played one of several incarnations of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, and he will appear in the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight. The actor was working on Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, which also features Christopher Plummer, when he died last month.