Heath Ledger: 1979 - 2008
01/24/2008 AT 12:00 PM EST
A world away, in Ledger's native Australia, the same anguish hit the actor's family. "I heard about his death in the press, and I called his mother to find out what was happening, and even she didn't know," says Ledger's uncle Neil Bell, who lives in California and had recently spoken with his nephew. "Heath's father found out through the press. It's a pretty devastating way to find out."
The death of young Heath Ledger, once dubbed the next Marlon Brando, was a shattering blow to those who knew him and to those who just felt like they did. The discovery was made on the afternoon of Jan. 22, when a massage therapist who had an appointment with Ledger was let into his apartment in Manhattan's posh SoHo neighborhood by a housekeeper. The therapist found him naked in bed and phoned 911 at 3:27 p.m. Paramedics raced to the apartment and attempted CPR, but it was too late.