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Biggest Headlines of 2008: RIP Heath Ledger

We've been counting down the most shocking headlines of 2008, and we'll be revealing more throughout the month of December. We hope you enjoy this look back at some of the posts and stories that created the most buzz throughout the year.

On January 22, 2008 we all learned a lesson about the tragic side of fame when we learned Heath Ledger had passed away of an apparent overdose that morning. As fans old and new alike tried to make sense of it and scramble for bits of information, the heartbreaking truth set in: we had lost one of the greatest actors of our time. He was a father, a son, a partner. He was known as a devoted actor and a kind person. He is still missed, he will be missed.

By the end of the 22nd, the details were still unknown but there were many theories being floated — some about Mary-Kate Olsen, though her involvement was never confirmed and the investigation is closed. His death was ruled an accident. A lethal combination of prescription drugs was found in his body.

To read more about the aftermath and his legacy just


His friends and colleagues in Hollywood had only kind words and family released a statement saying: "Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life but few had the pleasure of truly knowing him. He was a down to earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving and selfless individual who was extremely inspirational to many."

Michelle released a heartbreaking statement saying, "My heart is broken. I am the mother of the most tender-hearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl who is the spitting image of her father." In early February, Michelle joined Heath's family and loved ones for a beautiful celebration of his life and memorial service in Australia. It was the first most beautiful smile we saw on Michelle's face since the tragic loss.

We took a look back on his life through classic images and his fans — whether their favorite of his movies was 10 Things I Hate About You or Brokeback Mountain — reminisced about their favorite moments through tributes. There were hundreds of reasons, explanations and theories about why he passed away, but in the end the truth was just that he was gone too soon.

As the cold began to thaw in New York, we saw Michelle and Matilda emerge in Brooklyn for their happy walks and Michelle's carefully and radiantly stepped back onto the red carpet. In his hometown a theater was named in his honor, as was the scholarship set up in his name with Michelle making the first contribution.

In mid-July, The Dark Knight hit theaters to immense praise and broke box office record after box office record making upwards of $400 million already. It is slated for rerelease in early January 2009. Easily the most beloved movie of the Summer and perhaps best superhero movie of all time crowds gathered to see it again and again, constantly in awe of Heath's incredible performance.

The investigation into his death officially ended in early August, and in September his family chose to leave his estate to Matilda. Fellow actors Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, the actors who took over Heath Ledger's role in his final movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus are donating their profits to Matilda.

Through his memorable performances especially The Dark Knight an Oscar contender, Heath's memory will not be forgotten. Michelle's grief breaks our hearts, but his beautiful mini me continues to grow and smile helping Heath's legacy live on.

Source, Source, Splash News Online and Flynet

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