"He never showed up," says a police source. "That's when [O'Donnell] called a friend, who went to his apartment and called 911."
The friend, playwright David Katz, had just seen Hoffman a week earlier. "He was clean and sober, his old self," Katz tells the New York Times. "I really thought this chapter was over."
Sadly, it wasn't. The Oscar-winning actor would finally lose a decades-old battle with drug addiction that last year sent him to detox following a relapse.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m., police responding to the 911 call – which was made from the cell phone of Hoffman’s personal assistant, Isabella Wing-Davey, who had accompanied Katz to the apartment, reports New York's Daily News – found the lifeless body of Hoffman, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, lying on the bathroom floor of his fourth-floor apartment in Manhattan's West Village.
According to the police source, Hoffman had a needle stuck in his left forearm. Ten glassine envelopes were located throughout the apartment. Eight of the envelopes were empty and two, located closer to his body, contained a substance that appeared to be heroin, says the source.
Several of the envelopes were marked with the ace of spades. Others were marked with the ace of hearts. The meaning of the symbols is being investigated by police.
Just the night before, the Oscar-winning actor was spotted at neighborhood restaurant bar, Automatic Slims, one of his regular haunts. He came in at approximately 7:30 p.m. for dinner with two other men.
"They were in an out within an hour," says a bartender. "They were deep in conversation. He had a cranberry and soda and a cheeseburger."
The table also shared an order of guacamole and chips. "He seemed fine," says the bartender, who noted Hoffman did not drink alcohol that night. "One guy had a beer and he didn't."
By midday Sunday, Hoffman's beloved West Village neighborhood was mourning the actor they regularly saw watching his kids play basketball at nearby Chelsea Piers and strolling the streets in his signature rumpled baseball cap.
Many stood outside his apartment as his body, wrapped in a coroner's bag, was wheeled out of the brick apartment building, now blocked by police tape and strewn with flowers. Says one neighbor, "It's a total shock."
With reporting by EMILY STROHM and JANINE RUBENSTEIN