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'It Was Totally His Fault’ - Heath Ledger’s Father Opens Up About Son’s Tragic Last Days

It’s been over 8 years since Heath Ledger died in New York after taking a dangerous mix of prescription drugs, and in a new interview with Daily Mail Australia, his father Kim has opened up admitting: “It was totally his fault.”

“It was no one else’s - he reached for them,” 66-year-old Kim Ledger said, “He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation. “

“That’s hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him.”

He says Heath’s sister Katie had even warned her famous brother of the dangers of mixing painkillers and sleeping tablets the night before he died.

“His sister was on the phone to him the night before telling him not to take the prescription medications with the sleeping tablets.


“He said: ‘Katie, Katie, I’m fine. I know what I’m doing.’ He would have had no idea.”

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The ‘Brokeback Mountain’ actor was found unconscious in his bed by his housekeeper on 22 January, 2008 and was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly after.

Above: Heath Ledger’s mother, father, and sister at the 2009 Oscars

His autopsy report that found traces of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine in his body, states: “We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescribed medications.”

Kim was speaking out to warn of the dangers of prescribed painkillers after it was revealed that one in four Australians take painkillers at least once a month. He says Heath turned to painkillers to cope with the gruelling shooting schedules.

“Because he was travelling a lot, he would pop in to a doctor. In the case of someone with a higher profile it’s often a case of 'what do you want?’ instead of 'what do you need?’

“There’s so much pressure on them to perform so even though your body is telling you that it’s not good and needs time, it’s like 'just take these painkillers and keep going’.

"That was the case with Heath. He had to be back on set to finish (the next day).

“They were doing night shoots in the freezing cold and he had a weak chest anyway. He’d caught this (cough) and just couldn’t shake it but he thought he had to because he wanted to get the movie done.”

Ledger was partway through filming Terry Gilliam’s ‘The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnsassus’ when he died, with the film being completed when a number of actors, including Johnny Depp and Jude Law, stepped in to complete his part.

In 2009, Kim Ledger accepted his son’s posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in ‘The Dark Knight’, with Heath’s mother Sally and sister Kate.

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Image credits: Rex/PA