01/25/2008 AT 04:40 PM EST
The remains of Heath Ledger
were removed from the Frank E. Campbell
Funeral Home in New York City Friday afternoon, and are en route to an unspecified airport, police confirm to PEOPLE.
A little before 4 p.m., the body – carried inside a light-wood box – was loaded into a Cadillac hearse to be transported to a local-area airport.
Police had set up barricades outside the funeral home earlier in the day.
Ledger's grieving father Kim, mother Sally and sister Kate placed messages
of remembrance in Friday's West Australian
One signed by the entire family read: "You dreamed your dreams and lived them with passion and intelligent commitment. We have been privileged to accompany you on a ride through life that has simply been amazing and through it all, we have loved each other beyond imagination."