Heath Ledger's father reveals his son's final words before he died.In 2008, the tragic passing of Heath Ledger shocked the world. At 28 years old, not only was his death totally unexpected but it was made all the more shocking by two factors. He was at the peak of his career, and he was a recent father to a 2-year-old daughter who would grow up never knowing her father. And, while much of the blame was placed upon the actor's deep involvement in his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight, ultimately it was a lethal concoction of prescription painkillers that killed him.
Heath Ledger overdoseEight years following his death, it still highlights the fact that celebrities tend to turn to prescription painkillers to cope with the pressures of Hollywood. And while the issue is not new, it remains undiscussed, which is something Ledger's dad is now working on addressing. In an interview with Daily Mail Australia earlier this week, the 66-year-old recounted a devastating conversation his daughter, Katie, had with Heath the night before he was found, face-down in his NYC apartment, with a cocktail of oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone and doxylamine in his system: "It was totally his fault. It was no one else's - he reached for them. 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. 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." One would think that the weight of the conversation is still shocking, but when dealing with something as addictive as painkillers, it can be almost impossible to rewire a person's mind. After all, in the year before Heath's death, for example, the prescription painkiller Fetanyl killed over 1,000 people and was found to be 3050 times stronger than heroin.
Is it the film industry's fault?Heath Ledger's father continues on by saying the pressure of the film industry on actors leads actors to start taking prescription pills just to do their jobs. "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."
Celebrity Drug AddictionsHeath Ledger is not alone. In 2001, Stranger Things' star Winona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting. And while everyone was talking about the fact she stole clothes, many people didn't know she also had eight variations of painkillers in her purse.
Ryder recalled the moment in a 2007 interview with Vogue: "Two months prior to that, I broke my arm in two places, and the doctor was giving me a lot of stuff and I was taking it at first to get through the pain. And then there was this weird point when you don't know if you are in pain but you're taking it. Have you ever taken painkillers? It isn't a reckless [state], like you're out of your head. It's just confusion."
Even Matthew Perry, the Friends' star became addicted to prescription pills. He told Larry King in August 2002: "I got into a serious problem with painkillers, a painkiller called Vicodin. And that was mostly just to not drink as much as I was. I was getting too hung over, so I tried other things that would try to balance me out."
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, get help. You may just save someone's life.
Via Daily Mail