Sources: Philip Seymour Hoffman dead of apparent drug overdose

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By Shimon Prokupecz, Todd Leopold and Steve Almasy, (CNN) — Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment, law enforcement sources said Sunday.

Police said Hoffman, 46, was found on the bathroom floor and pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators found two bags of what is believed to be heroin inside the fourth-floor apartment, law enforcement officials said.

Police are investigating to determine whether anyone was with the actor when he died, the officials said.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving,” Hoffman’s family said in a statement. “Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Hoffman was last seen alive at 8 p.m. Saturday, a law enforcement official said. He was expected to get his kids on Sunday, but didn’t show up, the official said. Playwright David Katz and another person went to the apartment and found him dead, the official said.

A needle was in the actor’s left arm, and eight empty glassine-type bags that usually contain heroin were found in the apartment, law enforcement sources told CNN.

The bags were stamped with “Ace of Hearts” and “Ace of Spades” — street names for the heroin, the sources said.

An autopsy will be conducted on Hoffman’s body Monday, said Julie Blocker, a spokeswoman for New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Hoffman won an Academy Award for best actor for the 2005 biopic “Capote.”

He was a beefy 5-foot-10-inch man, but was convincing as the slight, 5-foot-3-inch Truman Capote. He had a booming voice like a deity’s but often played shlubby, conflicted characters.

He could be heartfelt and giving, as with his male nurse in “Magnolia” or rock critic in “Almost Famous,” or creepily Machiavellian, like the gamemaster in the latest “Hunger Games” movie or a “Mission: Impossible” movie villain.

He also appeared in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Doubt,” and “The Master,” for which he was nominated as best supporting actor.

According to a biography of the actor posted on the Turner Classic Movies website, last year Hoffman revealed he was seeking treatment for drug abuse, and “seemed to be confident that he was getting a handle on the situation.”

Hoffman’s father was a salesman and his mother was a family court judge, the biography says.

He landed his first professional stage role before graduating from high school and went on to study acting at New York University.

In Hollywood, his big break came with a small role as Chris O’Donnell’s classmate in the 1992 film “Scent of a Woman.”

For years, Hoffman was the kind of anonymous character actor who earned critical raves but was often unnoticed by the general public. He used his abilities to take chances with such directors as a then-unknown Paul Thomas Anderson, with whom he worked in “Hard Eight” (and several ensuing films, as both became better known) and Todd Solondz (“Happiness”).

“I think about that a lot,” he told Esquire in 2012 of his anonymity. “I feel it cracking lately, the older I’m getting. I think I’m less anonymous than I was.”

Even after winning the Academy Award, he took challenging roles. He was an L. Ron Hubbard-style leader in “The Master” and an intense theater director in “Synecdoche, New York.” Neither lit up the box office, but Hoffman’s performances earned wide praise for their immersiveness.

Hoffman appeared last month at the Sundance Film Festival, where a movie he starred in, “God’s Pocket,” premiered.

After his Oscar win at the Academy Awards in 2006, Hoffman thanked his mother for taking him to his first play.

“She brought up four kids alone and she deserves a congratulations for that. Ah, we’re at the party, Ma, you know? And she took me to my first play and she stayed up with me and watched the NCAA Final Four, and my passions, her passions became my passions. And, you know, be proud, Mom, because I’m proud of you and we’re here tonight and it’s so good,” he said in his acceptance speech.

Hoffman stayed active on stage even as his star rose in Hollywood. He starred in a Broadway production of “Death of a Salesman” in 2012 and was co-artistic director of the Labyrinth Theater Company in New York.

He is survived by three children and his longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.


  • TonytIiger

    One part he played as a Reverend in Cold Mountain I particularly enjoyed. I guess it wasn't a very big part for him I guess so maybe that's why there was not mention of this in this article. In my opinion even though the part wasn't that big it was still had key moments in the movie. Cold Mountain at the Academy Awards, Renée Zellweger won an Oscar and Jude Law won for Best Actor in a Leading Roll.
    I remember him most in the misfit or odd roles, but everything I remember about his parts I feel he played very well.
    Heroin is a miserable drug. Compounded by idiots lacing it with fentanyl causes it to kill even quicker. Even kind mother natures mellow medicine – marijuana, is ruined by nitwits messing with it. Lacing it so unless you grow your own or trust the farmer you can never be 100% sure its pure.

    • TonytIiger

      My apologies. I need to remember to edit before submitting especially on sites with no EDIT button. One may think I indulged in a little of mothers natures mellow medicine while I typed my comment. :-)
      Who knows maybe I did but I'll never admit it until it legalized here in Pennsylvania anyway.

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