NEW YORK: Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment of an apparent drug overdose on Sunday (Monday in Manila). He was 46.
The enigmatic star, who was hailed as the finest character actor of his generation, won an Oscar in 2006 as best actor for “Capote” and was nominated for three further Academy Awards.
A substance thought to be heroin was found at the scene when police arrived at the actor’s home in Manhattan’s West Village after receiving a call from one of his friends.
“It appears to be an alleged overdose,” a police official told Agence France-Presse. The actor was found on the bathroom floor with a syringe in his arm, wearing shorts and a T-shirt.
“Two glassine envelopes contained alleged heroin,” another officer said. There were no pills and no sign that the actor had been drinking.
An autopsy was due to be conducted on Hoffman’s body on Monday, US media reported.
Hoffman, whose two-decade career made him one of the most liked and respected actors in Hollywood, leaves behind his partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell, and three children.
In a brief statement, his family asked for privacy as relatives grieved their “tragic and sudden loss.”
Tributes quickly poured in from fellow celebrities and actors, with many taking to Twitter to express their sorrow.
“I feel so fortunate to have known and worked with the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman, and am deeply saddened by his passing,” said Julianne Moore, who co-starred with Hoffman in “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “The Big Lebowski.”
George Clooney, who appeared alongside Hoffman in “The Ides of March,” said: “There are no words . . . It’s just terrible.”
“This is a horrible day for those who worked with Philip. He was a giant talent,” Tom Hanks said. Hanks starred with Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War.”
The three co-stars spoke through their agents to US media.
British actor-director Gary Oldman told Sky News there was an “audible gasp” when the news of Hoffman’s death was announced at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards.
Talented but battling addiction
Born Philip Hoffman in July 1967 in New York state, he was the third of four children of a Xerox executive and a feminist housewife who divorced when he was nine.
He earned a drama degree from New York University in 1989, though he fell into alcohol and drug abuse for a while.
In 1997, he made waves as a closeted gay crew member in Paul Thomas Anderson’s porn industry tale “Boogie Nights,” followed by a quirky turn in the Coen brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” (1998).
In Anthony Minghella’s crime thriller “The Talented Mr Ripley,” he stole the show from co-stars Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow with his supporting role as slippery and duplicitous preppie Freddie Miles.
The late Minghella once said that Hoffman was an extraordinary actor “cursed, sometimes, by his own gnawing intelligence, his own discomfort with acting.”
“There are few actors more demanding in front of camera, less demanding away from it,” Minghella added.