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In 2008, the acting world lost an incredible talent. On January 22nd of that year, Heath Ledger was discovered deceased in his apartment, having died from overdosing on a mix of multiple types of prescription medications. It was news that shocked the world and many have mourned his passing - but the actor's father, Kim Ledger, wants to make sure that people take the right message from the tragedy. He has come out saying that there is nobody to blame for his son's death than his son, as he is hoping to raise awareness about the danger of medication abuse in Australia and the world.
Speaking with The Daily Mail, Kim Ledger spoke about the death of Heath Ledger and some of the events leading up to it. The actor's father noted that his son made the decision to take the pills, despite warnings from his family that it was dangerous. Said Ledger,
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. His sister was on the phone to him the night before telling him not to take the prescription medications with the sleeping tablets. He said: 'Katie, Katie, I'm fine. I know what I'm doing.' He would have had no idea.
The newspaper source notes that Kim Ledger's comments come at the same time as a massive reveal about prescription medication use - specifically opioids - in Australia recently came to light. According to a survey by the non-profit organization ScriptWise - which Ledger leads - a quarter of Australians use prescription painkillers at least once per month. This issue is only compounded by the fact that half of those surveyed said they would not admit to having an addiction due to societal pressure.
At the age of 28, Heath Ledger died far too young, and one can only imagine the work he would still be doing had he not overdosed (a phrase too often repeated in Hollywood). When faced with something terrible, however, the best thing that can be done is to take a lesson from it - and in this case the lesson is very clear. Opioids are extremely dangerous, and the wrong mix can easily kill you. Research seems to suggest that it's becoming an issue in Ledger's homeland of Australia, but it's a serious threat that exists everywhere.
We may want to simply remember Heath Ledger for his incredible performances in movies like The Dark Knight, I'm Not There, and Brokeback Mountain, but if his death can shed light on an important and growing issue, it should and hopefully will.