Heath Ledger’s death ruled accidental

February 6th, 2008 // 132 Comments

The New York City medical examiner ruled that Heath Ledger’s death was accidental and resulting from the abuse of prescription medications. Heath was suffering from sleeping disorders and anxiety issues. TMZ reports:

The NYC medical examiner has finished the toxicology report following the death of Heath Ledger, and has just ruled that the actor’s death was caused by “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.”

People reports Michelle Williams is in Australia today with Heath’s family. A private funeral will be held Saturday.

Photo: Getty Images

  1. herbiefrog

    #93 we can vouch for that

    roll up snort or roll up smoke

    as ll will tell you… [if you could ask her]

    …oxy is a helluva drug : ))

    [actually... ask almost anyone with money in la]


  2. Angel

    So it would be easy for someone taking these drugs to just be mistaken as drunk? The medical examiner’s report has opened more questions than it’s answered. Like were these drugs all taken at the same time or does cumulative mean that this happened over an extended period of time.

  3. Mal Reynolds

    #88, I don’t want to start any riots, so it is probably best if we keep the pictures off the net. I will have to be content knowing that you are out there somewhere causing grown men to explode just by smiling at them.

  4. Mal Reynolds

    #88, I don’t want to start any riots, so it is probably best if we keep the pictures off the net. I will have to be content knowing that you are out there somewhere causing grown men to explode just by smiling at them.

  5. Fuckzilla

    Somewhere Amy Whinhouse takes another hit and begins laughing hysterically…

  6. FRT

    Heath should have just smoked a BIG FUCKING BOMBER to cure his ailments…Nothing like a BIG FATTY to ease your anxiety and put you to sleep.

    FACT: 40,000 people die every year in North America due to Doctor prescribed drugs

    FACT: No human in the histoy of the earth has died from smoking a BIG J…!

  7. Mike

    Accident, whatever. Sounds like a dip shit to me. First off; oxycodone and hydrocodone are not for anxiety or sleep issues. They are for pain and to get a nice happy high buzz from. He may not have been trying to kill himself but he was trying to get high or something from taking all that stuff. He is a druggy that OD’d, why do we need to feel sorry for him. just because he was damn movie star. People need to get off the fix and let people like this die just like everyone else. Someone who made a real difference probably just died today as well and we will never hear about it.

  8. FIRST

    Anxiety issues and sleeping problems…but two of those drugs are painkillers.


  9. Tempo36

    Oxycontin is the delayed release form of oxycodone. Chemically they are the same, just different release profiles.

    Kelly, you’re very mistaken…hydrocodone is a pain killer and in some rare cases an antitussive. While robitussin is also an antitussive, it does not contain hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a Schedule 3 narcotic that can only be obtained with a prescription. Saying that robitussin = antitussive and hydrocodone = antitussive therefore robitussin = hydrocodone is a completely false jump in logic. It has been many many years since over the counter cough medicine had opiates in it. I believe with a prescription in Canada you can get robitussin + codeine, but again…different thing.

    As a few people mentioned, no responsible doctor would have prescribed oxycontin for muscle aches. That doesn’t mean one didn’t per se…but it’s negligent. Like shooting a squirrel with an assault rifle.

  10. Mac an Ghaill

    My mistake, I initially read Oxycontin and not Oxycodone (Percocet). The fact remains, why the reason for the painkillers- unless they were, as someone said, components of other medications? If they were pills that he had taken previously (I know, no scripts for that were found in the house), those are some strong medications for them being doled out to someone with the flu and ailments associated with it. Hydrocodone, mmm possibly, in a cough medication, if it was really bad.

  11. Mac an Ghaill

    Tempo36, thank you. I was going to say that was a bit overkill. One doesn’t (normally) take opiates for minor muscle aches and pains. And if Robutussin (OTC) had hydrocodone in it, it would be flying off the shelves. That class of narcotic is only available through prescription.

  12. Tempo36

    The day I prescribe one of my patients Schedule 2 narcotics (oxycodone) and Schedule 3 narcotics (hydrocodone) for the flu is the day I’ll report myself to the licensing board.

    I could possibly justify Tylenol 3 (tylenol + codeine) for a pneumonia, but it better be one hell of a pneumonia.

  13. kitty_kat

    #69 is dead on.

  14. jessica, UK

    i am posting #15′s again. on account of the fact that none of you people were in his position. you don’t know what happened and the post is 100% accurate. :]

    The guy could not sleep. Insomnia is torture. Sleep deprivation is actually used as a from of torture. When you get 2 hours of sleep a night for months not only is it dangerous (it can kill you on it’s own) but you actulally are no longer able to think straight because your brain and your body do not get rested. Severe insomnia causes a fuckload of serious side effects, look it up. So the guy was not thinking straight and he just wanted to sleep he was surely at his wits end. He just wanted relief. try sleeping only 2 hours a night for a month and you’ll understand.

    He was not a druggie he stopped doing pot in the name of his daughter (he had Matilda tatooed on his chest). There is no proof he did any drugs except pot. How many of you are pot smokers? Anyway all you bitches insulting him know full well that you have done stupid things that could have killed you and you still do, you either smoke, drink, drive drunk, fuck without protection, overeat, cross the street without looking like Mommy taught you, drive recklessly, actually are drug addicts etc… So turn that chubby finger around because all people except ME and the monks in tibet have vices.

  15. Tempo36

    For the sake of fairness, we don’t know that he really was only sleeping 2 hours a night. I have patients who I see in jail that lie to me ALL the time. Assuming he was only sleeping 2 hours a night though, part of the problem may have been that he was on addictive medications and if he didn’t take them on any given day his rebound symptoms would have made sleep very difficult.

    More and more I find myself at odds with practitioners who prescribe benzo’s (valium, xanax, attivan, etc) as a means of controlling stress in the long term. While we sanction medical drug use in our society, someone who takes daily benzodiazepines is no less a ‘druggy’ than someone who uses daily marijuana or cocaine. They are highly addicted and they will undergo withdrawal if they stop. Benzodiazepines should be used for acute stress episodes. If you are under chronic stress please look into alternative options, there are other medication options and there are other therapy options.

    In the strict sense, there is absolute proof he did other drugs besides marijuana…4 of them are on the toxicology report. Prescribed or not doesn’t mean they aren’t what they are. I place equal blame on the practitioners who prescribe these drugs off the cuff without a thought to the consequences they will have on their patients.

  16. temazepam

    Temazepam causes amnesia– with no one there to watch, it would be VERY easy to forget what you had just taken, lump that with the insomnia and the availability of other “sleep aids” and you have a formula for a disaster. I have watched take pills to the point of OD’ing because the medication made her forget that she had just taken them. Combine that with the fact that she is a compulsive liar and lied about what she had taken and you get an ambulance ride. It happens. If I hadn’t been there to see it, she might have ended up the same way as ol’ Heath here.

  17. gus

    He “accidentally abused” an entire stash of opiates and Valium. It was either intentional, or he’s stupid; either way, no loss.

  18. FRT

    Hey Dr. Kildare & Dr. House…I have narcotic prescription percs at my disposal by my doctor when ever I need them. But I live with chronic back pain and arthritis…I basically have no discs left from L1 to L5…believe me…no one should be using this shit UNLES THEY ARE IN CONSTANT PAIN! Even then I only use them when I REALLY HAVE TOO! I could sell these for 10 bucks a pop easy at the local bars…BUT I DON’T BECAUSE I HAVE MORALS AND VALUES AND AM NOT SOME DOPED UP HOLLYWOOD JUNKIE THAT THINKS HE WAS ELVIS! Like any drug on earth…you abuse…you die!

  19. beejay

    boo hoo hoo, poor Heath had insomnia, it is terrible , it is like torture, well guess what if you do too much meth or crack your ass will be up all night too, did any one see the interview where he was scratching at his arms complaining of insomnia,dude was a junkie,and if he wasn’t there is something called taking responsibility, what that means is if I decide to do something incredibly stupid like take a humongous amount of various drugs and then check out, then it is not the fault of the doctors or the system or whoever the new judas goat du jour is,Its mine, lets try this one more time folks, if you do too many drugs you will as someone else pointed out either die, go to jail or choose to stop.

  20. Yep

    No: 68… my thoughts exactly, there’s NO WAY a single (responsible) physician prescribes multiple benzos AND sleeping pills AND pain pills (OxyContin for crying out loud… that’s pain medication for terminally-ill cancer patients).

    It may have been an accident on his part, and may he R.I.P. However, I’d have a difficult time believing a single doctor would prescribe that combination of drugs.

  21. Juaquin Ingles

    Fuck I hope they don’t cremate him. Imagine how high everyone within a 10-block radius would get.

  22. bosendorfer

    heath shouldn’t be dead.

    almost without exception, i HATE hollywood celebrities, but i like heath ok and it’s very upsetting that he’s gone. RIP, Heath.

  23. Blondamnation

    Hey #44 back there, ” he is my favorite. I am his big fan. Is he single now?”

    Why YES, I believe so. In fact I’m sure he’s single, you should check him out at douchebagsonlypostfake posts aboutdeadpeople.net. People who post that fake shit that NOBODY wants to see: You are a wart on the ass of this site. And that’s saying a lot, ,….. there’s a lot of asses on this site.
    Speaking of that :) where’s TT???

  24. Blondamnation

    he ws an admitted recovering alcoholic, andso he would know that even if someone “normal” who didn’t have drug history could take Oxy (not that anyone on this planet needs that much pain medicine), he would react d ifferently and could not.
    (Ive been in recovery 10 years and I can’t even take Tylenol PM..) If he “accidentally” put all that shit in his system he lied to get it, to the many drs and to himself. It doens’t mean it’s not tragic, I’m way more sympatetic to him than say, a loser with man ” issues”. But don’t defend him like he was some boy scout-he was what he was.

  25. just a gal

    who said he just took them one after the other – how long do they stay in your system.. maybe he took them over the space of a few hours? I doubt he was thinking clearly. Actual experts (I assume, unlike you fucknuts) say that someone could do this accidently, although his doctor should have been aware of all of these prescriptions (unless he had not been upfront to his doctor or had gone to multiple doctors, n ot always being in the same place).

    No one is saying he is a boy scout – I think people are saying he was just realatively normal. He was sick, he made a wrong choice, he probably didn’t think “death would happen to him”, he probably just wanted to go to sleep and feel better when he woke up. Its sad its happened, its a lesson to others…don’t know how many will heed it – I mean people still speed in their cars, taken drugs socially – thinking “it won’t happen to me” – then when it does, the rest of us are here to say “oh what an idiot, I mean seriously, don’t be sorry they are gone, they deserved it as obviously they are not as smart as me”.

    People who are claiming he was a drug addict….where is your proof for this? Are you basing this on one little video clip taking 2 years ago saying that he used to smoke more pot than he should have. I think you can’t really go around saying he probably overdosed on drugs because he smoked a lot of pot….. smoking pot doesn’t mean he used harder drugs… and because he did it in the past doesn’t mean he was still doing it….

    there were no illegal drugs in his system – so whatever he was, he wasn’t on them so you should stop treating him like he was some bad-guy-dumbass who deserved to die because of his drug addiction.

  26. Kelly

    119: If Heath was a junkie, then why was there no cocaine or heroin on his toxicology report? The fact is, Heath wasn’t a “junkie” in the traditional sense of the word. He was a depressed man, most likely suffering insomnia as a result of the anti-anxiety medication he was on. There is no indication that he was depressed before the break-up of his relationship. If you look at photos and interviews of him after his break-up, that’s when you see the changes in his demeanor…once he began the anti-anxieties/anti-depressants. “Itchies” are a side effect of taking things like Xanax. What you are diagnosing as a withdrawl symptom is actually a side-effect. Do a google search of “itchies” with “xanax”.

    I think Heath’s death is a result of the “trickle effect” of taking anti-depressants. They cause side effects which are treated with other prescriptions that cause more side effects that require other medications. Eventually, you are taking too many medications at once and sitting on a timebomb.

    I have been in a deep state of depression. My doctor prescribed anti-depressants but I refused to take them because I didn’t feel I needed them and I associated them with “crazy” people. I was not a crazy person. However, I would sleep all day during the weekend and find it impossible to sleep at night on work days. I remember I would take a soma to go to sleep at night….even if for only a few hours. Eventually I came out of the depression on my own. Here is what continues to puzzle me: Why are we, as a society, so afraid to “feel” anything? If we continue to drug ourselves to remain at a level “mood”, then when do you really feel ALIVE? Being alive is experiencing the ups and downs…love and hatred…joy and sorrow. If you want to be dead inside, then keep taking these drugs and eventually you will literally be dead altogether. If you want to be ALIVE, then feel your pain and sorrow and grow from it and appreciate those moments because they are blessings to your soul. How can we love if we never hate? How can we understand true joy if we never feel sorrow?


  27. whizzer

    good god, sad, verbose, confessional-type sermons as above, leaving your personal prayers and secret meaning-of-life diary entries here is akin to just screaming into the void. keep getting or immediately seek professional help or maybe volunteer somewhere where these kinds of extremely personalized, faux-soulful admissions might mean something. how gauche.

  28. asfd

    STFU @HOLES how rude are allof you it was an ACCIDENT. Hes not a doctor so how was he supposed to know.

    The fault lies with a prescription system where if you go to different doctors each can give you something that conflicts. We need better record keeping. Don’t put a dead man down it was an accident. AND I’M SURE HED TAKE IT BACK IF HE KNEW WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED.

  29. anyakns

    Kelly, you are misinformed. I am clean now but have been in rehab and outpatient methadone treatment for the abuse of oxycontin, and yes, some people then would have called me a JUNKY. Oxycontin is time-released oxycodone, which is chemically similar to heroin…. crush it up to snort and you dissolve the time release anyway…. learn your facts. Prescription drugs can be abused, oxy is a terrible drug that puts people through hell, just like heroin/coke/crack/whatever.

  30. I hope that all of you that make this hateful and reckless comments about Heath burn blissfully in hell. It’s so classy of you to take the plunge on him now that he can’t fight back… Really brave!
    Yeah… Awesome…. Just fucking burn in hell. All of you, motherfuckers!

  31. Hello everyone, My name is Steve. I am interested in EasyCalm, that was created by Joe Mercer. The process involved in Easy Calm is really simple. There are about 10 downloadable video sessions that takes approximately 3 hours 20 minutes time.

  32. This is really sad. I don’t care whether it was overdosing or with what, either way it is sad and people don’t seem to have a heart.

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