Last Updated: January 22, 2008By Tags:

(BY ALI NADERZAD) Australian-born Heath Ledger died today at the Manhattan apartment of Marie-Kate Olsen. Pills were found scattered near his bed which indicate a possible overdose. The actor had also been suffering from pneumonia. It’s a tragic end for a young actor (he was only 28) who challenged himself and the status quo when choosing roles. A native of Perth, his ambitions of acting first took him to Sydney, where he got cast in a few forgettable films and arrived in America in the late 1990s to audition for films there. In 1999 he auditioned in Two Hands, by Aussie director Gregory Jordan, and got the part. His performance got him a part in Ten Things I Hate About You (1999), which co-stars Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His previous turns seemed to haunt him, however, and the roles he subsequently chose seem to underline a desire to avoid being typecast again. His performance as Sonny Grotowsky in Monster’s Ball earned him raves, but then he followed by playing Ned Kelly in the namesake film (2003) and the performance was less than positively received. The role he would become most famous for was as Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Ledger’s ambiguous and soft-spoken demeanor seemed like the perfect match for the role. The film was the most name of 2005 and earned him an Oscar nomination. Heath Ledger was briefly linked with Heather Graham and Naomi Watts before meeting Michelle Williams on the set of Brokeback Mountain. In October 2005, Williams gave birth to Matilda Rose Ledger. The couple had separated since. Ledger has appeared in The Patriot (2000), Casanova (2005), Candy (2006), and Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. He also plays the Joker in Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight and a major part in Terry Gilliam’s the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (no release slated yet). The soft-spoken Aussie will be missed dearly.