Heath Ledger: Covering the Coverage (Updated)

Heath Ledger
Photo: Getty Images

Today's coverage of Heath's Ledger's death doesn't answer many more of the questions that his fans are asking one another. Police are no longer touting suicide as the cause, and his family has declared it was an accident. Looking through the stories, blog posts, and online videos, though, provides a telling peek into the way the actor affected people, and how no one quite knows how to handle his death.

• According to some police sources, Heath's ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams kicked him out of their shared Brooklyn home because of a drug problem "that got worse after he left." Williams, the mother of their 2-year-old child, Matilda, has said she is "devastated." [NYDN]
• The masseuse who discovered the body didn't first call the police; she called the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, another client. Olsen told her to immediately call the authorities. [PageSix.com]

• At first when reached, Ledger's publicist Mara Buxbaum said she was "too upset" to talk about his death (she later said she was "deeply saddened" and asked the media to respect his privacy). But DJ Paul Sevigny, the owner of Ledger's hangout the Beatrice Inn, offered up: “He was really polite and nice.” [NYT]
• Meanwhile, the Times, which normally stays above celebrity coverage unless it is straightforward news like this, devoted fifteen reporters to their story, resulting in arguably the swiftest and most adept coverage of it. [Times Cityroom]
• The pills found in Ledger's Soho apartment at the time of his death have been identified in detail. Bottles of the generic forms of Xanax and Valium were located in the bathroom, and sleeping pills Ambien, Donormyl, and Zopiclone were found near his body. [NYP]
• Defamer.com speculates that the upcoming film The Dark Knight, in which Ledger plays the Joker, will become a monument to his acting talent. But producers, they predict, will shift their macabre promotion material to focus less on Ledger's bloody role. [Defamer]
• Belinda Luscombe, a reporter who briefly met him for a profile in Time magazine, says that during their meeting, "mostly what he gave off was dissatisfaction." [Time]
• TMZ.com is running with a story that Ledger was suffering from pneumonia, an angle that hasn't been picked up by many other outlets. [TMZ]
• Gawker.com posted a video last night of Ledger's body being removed from the Soho apartment (and today they claim to have the last pictures of him alive). The site's normally vicious commenters quickly dissolved into self-loathing and sadness. [Gawker]

Updated: According to TV reports, the police coroner said that the preliminary autopsy was inconclusive and that more tests will be needed to understand the cause of Ledger's death. Results are expected in about ten days.

Update 2: A rolled up $20 bill that was located near Ledger's body was found to have no evidence of having been used to ingest drugs, reports the Times. Also, in addition to police, three private-security men that had been summoned by Mary-Kate Olsen were on the scene when emergency personnel arrived. The AP says that there were six different prescription drugs in the apartment, but no illegal substances. The Post adds that Ledger is to be buried in Australia, that Michelle Williams is on her way back to New York from Sweden, and that Jack Nicholson says he "warned" Ledger about something before he died, but it is not known what.

Related: Heath Ledger: An Appreciation [NYM]