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Ledger’s Death Caused By Accidental Overdose

January 18, 2012 by staff 

Ledger's Death Caused By Accidental OverdoseLedger’s Death Caused By Accidental Overdose, 2008 – Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, the New York City medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine,” the office said in a short statement.

“We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.”

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are painkillers. Diazepam is an anti-anxiety drug commonly sold under the brand name Valium; alprazolam is also an anti-anxiety drug sold under such names as Xanax. Temazepam, sold under such names as Restoril and Euhypnos, is a sleeping agent. Doxylamine, an antihistamine, can be obtained over the counter as a sleep aid.

Ledger died January 22 at an apartment in Lower Manhattan. The Oscar-nominated Australian actor, best known for his role as a stoic, closeted cowboy in the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain,” was 28. Watch why Ledger’s death probably was ruled accidental

Police reported finding several prescription medications in the room but no illegal drugs.

CNN has learned the Drug Enforcement Administration has requested the toxicology and prescription records related to Ledger’s death. The DEA requested the records Wednesday from the New York Police Department and the medical examiner’s office after the release of the report detailing the cause of death, according to a law enforcement source who asked not to be identified by name or agency because the request concerns an active investigation.

The DEA confirmed it will look into anything suspicious concerning Ledger’s death. “We will investigate any leads in respect to this,” DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney said while declining to provide any specifics. “In any case, we look to see whether prescription drugs were illegally obtained or whether it was through proper channels.”

An autopsy done on the actor January 23 was inconclusive. Interactive: A look back at Heath Ledger’s life

In a statement released through Ledger’s publicist, Ledger’s father, Kim, said Wednesday: “While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath’s accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.”

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