Oscar-winning and critically acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead in his New York City apartment after an apparent drug overdose. He was 46-years-old.
The New York Times reports the actor was discovered in his West Village apartment on Sunday at around 11:30 am, by a concerned friend. An official told the Times, investigators found a syringe in Hoffman’s left forearm, at least two plastic envelopes with what appeared to be heroin nearby, and five empty plastic envelopes in a rubbish bin.
“It’s pretty apparent that it was an overdose,” the official said. “The syringe was in his arm.”
The actor has undergone treatment for drug addiction in the past. Last May, Variety reported that Hoffman had completed a detox program for substance abuse, including snorting heroin.
In a 2006 interview with the CBS program 60 Minutes Hoffman said he had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse in his youth, but had been sober since he was 22. His family has released a statement confirming his death. “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone,” the statement said.
“This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.” As news of the actor’s untimely death spread, fellow performers, friends and fans took to Twitter in an outpour of admiration and grief for the man.
TV personality and food writer Anthony Bourdain shared the poignant lyrics from Velvet Underground‘s song, Heroin, before farewelling the artist. “‘I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas On a great big clipper ship.’ RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. A great artist,” tweeted Bourdain.
Comedian and writer Ricky Gervais, shared his dismay at the news and affection for the man tweeting, “Such shocking & sad news. RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. One of the greatest actors of a generation and a sweet, funny & humble man.” While Ellen DeGeneres, who is hosting the Oscars ceremony in March tweeted, “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a brilliant, talented man. The news this morning is shocking and sad. My heart goes out to his loved ones.”
Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2006 for best actor for his role in the film Capote, in which he portrayed the writer Truman Capote as he conducted research and investigations for the book In Cold Blood. He also received supporting actor nominations for The Master, Doubt and Charlie Wilson’s War, as well as two Tony nominations for his work on the stage in True West and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
Variety reports, he was also deeply involved in the New York theatre world, serving as co-artistic director of the LAByrinth Theater Company, where he directed several plays. At the time of his death he was set to reprise his role as as Plutarch Heavensbee in the the hugely popular The Hunger Games films.
He is survived by his long-time partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell with whom he has three young children, a son and two daughters. According to the Times more than 100 people had gathered Sunday afternoon outside Hoffman’s apartment to mourn the actor’s death.
“He’s a local. He’s a fixture in this neighborhood,” said Christian McCulloch, 39, who said that he lives nearby. “You see him with his kids in the coffee shops. He is so sweet. It’s desperately sad.”
“I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas On a great big clipper ship..” RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. A great artist.
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) February 2, 2014
Such shocking & sad news. RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. One of the greatest actors of a generation and a sweet, funny & humble man.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) February 2, 2014
Philip Seymour Hoffman was a brilliant, talented man. The news this morning is shocking and sad. My heart goes out to his loved ones.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) February 2, 2014