NEW YORK (CBS/AP)
Actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs that included painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication, the New York City medical examiner said Wednesday.
"Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine," medical examiner's spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said in a news release.
Oxycodone is a painkiller marketed as OxyContin and used in other painkillers such as Percodan and Percocet; hydrocodone is used in a number of painkillers, including Vicodin.
Diazepam and alprazolam are the generic names for the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, and the other two drugs are sleep aids commonly sold under the brands Restoril and Unisom.
Borakove wouldn't say what concentrations of each drug were found in Ledger's blood, or whether one drug played a greater part than another in causing his death.
"What you're looking at here is the cumulative effects of these medications together is what caused his death," she said.
Ledger, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Brokeback Mountain," died in his New York City apartment Jan. 22. He was 28.
Authorities suspected a drug overdose after several prescription drugs were found in the apartment where his body was found.
Meanwhile, Ledger's family returned home to Perth, Australia Tuesday after visiting in New York. Michelle Williams, and Matilda - her 2-year-old daughter with Ledger - are also in Perth. The family won't comment on funeral arrangements and Williams has requested privacy for those in mourning.
The family will reportedly hold a private ceremony and either bury Ledger's remains or have them cremated and interred at the family's plot at a cemetery in Perth, where his two grandparents lie. The timing of the funeral is unclear.
Posted by LS