How Heath Ledger Unraveled Weeks Before His Death, ‘I Am Heath Ledger’ Documentary Coming Soon

Despite passing away nearly a decade ago, Heath Ledger is currently making headlines as his inner circle has recently opened up about how the actor had unraveled in the weeks before he passed away.

Us Weekly reminds us it was the fatal mixture of sleeping pills and prescription medication that resulted in the death of the Brokeback Mountain star.

Actor Heath Ledger poses for a portrait, holding a camera,
Actor Heath Ledger [Image by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images]

PEOPLE notes that Ledger had been warned multiple times by friends and family members to be careful with the combination of sleep medication and prescription medication he had been taken. Heath was reported to have passed away from “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.” It was, however, ruled an accidental overdose and not a suicide.

Kim Ledger, Heath’s father, noted it was completely his son’s fault he passed away as he had been warned several times not to mix the medication. This was not something his father said cold-heartedly though. In fact, Kim revealed how hard it was to say something like this about his son because he loved him and was “so proud” of him. He, however, fully believed it was Heath’s own fault he passed away.

It was also revealed that Heath’s sister Kate had spoken to him on the phone the night before his death. During the conversation, she, again, warned her brother not to mix the sleeping pills with the prescription medication he was taking. In what neither of the siblings knew at the time would be their final conversation, Heath reassured his sister that he was fine.

Actor Heath Ledger arrives at the ThinkFilms screening of Candy
Actor Heath Ledger unraveled before his death [Image by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]

Heath Ledger was a man in his late 20s struggling with the combination of a recent break-up, the pressures of fame, and being a young father. In order to recuperate from being overwhelmed and fighting off an illness he couldn’t seem to get rid of, he retired to his apartment in New York City in January of 2008. On January 22, the 28-year-old superstar was found dead in his apartment with a fatal combination of prescription medication and sleeping pills in his system.

Those who were close to Heath Ledger back when he was alive have painted a very intimate picture of a sensitive man who unraveled in the weeks before he passed away. These new details about the Heath coming unraveled prior to his death came to light during an exclusive interview with PEOPLE in preparation for the I Am Heath Ledger documentary which is scheduled to premiere on Spike TV on May 17. This will follow its debut during the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23. The I Am Heath Ledger documentary will also have a one-night special theatrical release in select theaters on May 3.


“At some point in time, it unraveled for him,” Derik Murray, the directory of the documentary, revealed to PEOPLE.

“I think it was tough for him to keep up with who he was.”

In addition to being a dialect coach who lived and worked with the star when he was filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Gerry Grennell was also a friend to Heath. He described the unraveled star as exhausted. He claimed that in addition to battling a lingering pneumonia-type illness, Ledger was both mentally and physically exhausted. Ledger was taking sleeping pills, but getting a good night’s rest was still something that seemed just out of reach.

“I would hear him wandering around the apartment and I’d get up and say, ‘Come on, man, get back to bed, you have to work tomorrow. He said, ‘I can’t sleep, man.'”

According to Gerry, Heath’s mood was very low during his final weeks as his life as a superstar took a toll on him. He claimed that Ledger was struggling because he missed his family, his former girlfriend, and his 2-year-old daughter Matilda.

“He missed his girl, he missed his family, he missed his little girl — he desperately wanted to see her and hold her and play with her. He was desperately unhappy, desperately sad.”

Grennell claims that Heath knew he was becoming unraveled and that he needed to stop taking the sleeping pills, but he could not seem to shake them.

“He said, ‘I got to stop, it’s not helping, I’m not well, it’s making me feel more upset. It wasn’t helping with the relationship issues, it wasn’t helping with missing his kid, it wasn’t helping his sleeping — and he knew that.”

Do you have an interest in watching the I Am Heath Ledger documentary? What are your thoughts on the way the star unraveled before making the fatal mistake of mixing medication which resulted in his untimely death? Share your thoughts on the unraveled Heath Ledger in the comment’s section which can be found near the bottom of the page.

[Featured Image by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images]