Requiescat in pace
While not a marquee movie star, Ledger was an award-winning actor who chose his roles carefully rather than cashing in on big-money parts. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain," where he met Michelle Williams, who played his wife in the film. The two had a daughter, now 2-year-old Matilda, and lived together in Brooklyn until they split up last year.
It was a shocking and unforeseen conclusion for one of Hollywood's bright young stars. Though his leading man looks propelled him to early stardom in films like "10 Things I Hate About You" and "A Knight's Tale," his career took a notable turn toward dramatic and brooding roles with 2001's "Monster's Ball."
"I had such great hope for him," said Mel Gibson, who played Ledger's vengeful father in "The Patriot," in a statement. "He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss."
Dead at 28