Celebrity Health

18 Celebrities Who Have Died from Substance Abuse

5. Heath Ledger

Talented actor Heath Ledger died of cardiac arrest triggered by prescription drug abuse in 2008 at age 28.

When he first came over to the United States from Australia, Ledger had somewhat of a “pretty boy” image, starring in romantic comedies like 10 Things I Hate About You. In the following years, he tried to establish a reputation for himself as a more serious actor. His decision to take on more serious roles made him a highly renowned actor, but it also contributed to his death.

Ledger wowed audiences with his portrayal of The Joker, the famous criminally insane supervillain incapable of feeling empathy. However, it is believed that Ledger’s investment in the role took a toll on his mental health. He began suffering from severe insomnia and anxiety and started taking prescription pills to try and get to sleep. Even when taking the sleeping pills, Ledger still had issues with insomnia.

In 2008, Ledger was found dead of an accidental drug overdose. The prescription drugs he overdosed on included sleeping pills, painkillers, and anti-anxiety medication. In the weeks leading up to his death, he was sick with a pneumonia-like illness, which was made worse by his inability to sleep. He was also stressed because of his recent breakup with his wife, Michelle Williams, and the couple’s young daughter.

Photo source: Heath Ledger Portrait Session by hfs Tga