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Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2008

Funeral arrangements for Heath Ledger remain secret

January 27, 2008

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— Details about funeral arrangements for actor Heath Ledger remained secret as his body was taken from a Manhattan funeral home.

Ledger's publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said Friday the arrangements "will continue to be kept private at the family's request."

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said his government would do whatever was needed to help the family bring back the 28-year-old Ledger's body to Australia.

His body was moved from the police-barricaded funeral home amid a swarm of cameras and reporters about 4 p.m. Friday. Meanwhile, police insisted they have no interest in interviewing actress Mary-Kate Olsen, who was the first person a masseuse called after finding an unresponsive Ledger in a Manhattan apartment Tuesday.

In her first comment since the Australian-born actor's death, Olsen issued a statement that read: "Heath was a friend. His death is a tragic loss. My thoughts are with his family during this very difficult time."

Police said the masseuse who found Ledger's body spent nine minutes making three calls to the "Full House" actress before dialing 911 for help, then called Olsen a fourth time after paramedics arrived. At some point during the flurry of calls, Olsen, who was in California, summoned her personal security guards to the apartment to help, police said.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said investigators interviewed everyone at the scene, each of whom was cooperative. That eliminated "any need to interview Miss Olsen," he said.

Ledger's family placed a death notice in The West Australian, a newspaper based in his hometown of Perth, remembering him as "the most amazing 'old soul' in a young man's body."

The actor's sister, Kate, said she could "hardly breathe" as she tried to write her tribute. "We were the ultimate soul mates," she said.

"You were so many things to so many people, but to me you were just my little brother."

The cause of Ledger's death will not be known for at least a week, after medical examiners complete toxicology tests. Authorities suspect a possible drug overdose.

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