On January 22, 2008, the world mourned the loss of Heath Ledger, the Australian actor known for his portrayal of the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight.’ He was found unconscious in his bed at his Manhattan home and was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics arrived.
The autopsy report revealed that his death was an accident caused by ‘acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.’ These were prescription drugs commonly used to treat anxiety, pain, and insomnia. However, the dangerous combination of these medications led to the tragic incident.
In a 2016 interview with news.com.au, the late actor’s father, Kim Ledger, shared Heath’s final moments and the last chat he had with his sister, Kate, saying:
“The last conversation Kate had with him was this discussion about his medications, and she warned him, ‘You can’t mix drugs that you don’t know anything about.’ He said, ‘Katie, Katie, I’ll be fine.’ Well, that’s a cavalier boy’s answer. It just put his whole system to sleep, I guess…It was a one-off thing…”
“But most of Heath’s problems were self-induced. There is pressure on everybody, especially young people, to perform and to keep going. He was a young guy that traveled all the time for work. Even as a two-year-old, he hardly ever slept. He was trying to work and travel and do everything in a short space of time.”
Following Ledger’s untimely death, there were investigations into the doctors who had prescribed him the medications. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) looked into their practices but ultimately concluded that the doctors had not acted unlawfully in their prescription practices.