Kim Ledger, the father of the late Heath Ledger, has revealed to Daily Mail Australia what Heath said right before he died. The actor was just 28-years-old when he was found face down in his New York apartment.
Heath died of an accidental overdose after taking a mix of oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone, and doxylamine. And though it’s been eight years since Heath’s death, Kim Ledger is still finding it hard to accept the circumstance surrounding the tragedy.
“It was totally his fault. It was no one else’s—he reached for them. He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation. That’s hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him.”
Painkiller addiction is a growing problem, as many rely on them for both pain relief and pleasure. Kim counts his son as one of these, because his tough schedule didn’t allow for breaks or downtime. “Because he was travelling a lot, he would pop in to a doctor. In the case of someone with a higher profile, it’s often a case of ‘What do you want’ instead of ‘What do you need.’”
“There’s so much pressure on them to perform so even though your body is telling you that it’s not good and needs time, it’s like ‘Just take these painkillers and keep going.’ That was the case with Heath. He had to be back on set to finish (the next day). They were doing night shoots in the freezing cold and he had a weak chest anyway. He’d caught this (cough) and just couldn’t shake it but he thought he had to because he wanted to get the movie done.”
Kim also revealed that just hours before Heath died, he was on the phone with his sister Kate. Kate told Heath not to mix his prescription meds with sleeping tablets, but unfortunately Heath wouldn’t listen. “He said, ‘Katie, Katie, I’m fine. I know what I’m doing.’ He would have had no idea.”
These days Kim is honoring his son’s life by raising awareness about addiction to painkillers. He leads a not-for-profit organization called ScriptWise, dedicated to preventing prescription medication misuse.