Michelle Williams and daughter Matilda in October
Tom Vickers/Splash News Online
02/01/2008 AT 02:20 PM EST
Michelle Williams has broken her silence following the death of Heath Ledger
, saying in a statement, "My heart is broken."
"Please respect our need to grieve privately," Williams says in the statement released by her rep Friday. "My heart is broken."
Adds Williams, mother of Ledger's 2-year-old daughter Matilda: "I am the mother of the most tender-hearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl who is the spitting image of her father. All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day.
"His family and I watch Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals, and takes steps two at a time, and we know that he is with us still. She will be brought up in the best memories of him."
Heath Ledger: Life in Photos:
See all the actor's most recent photos – from life as a dad to being an Oscar nominee
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