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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

Join The Conversation
LaurAsh988 LaurAsh988 8 years
I can't think about this too often or I get too upset. Heath's death broke my heart, especially for his family, Michelle and Matilda. I didn't even know him and it upset me so much so I can't imagine what it's like for his loved ones. I can't believe it's been almost a year. I have never been this upset about a celebrity dying before. So sad.
redchick152 redchick152 8 years
matilda is so stinkin cute!! it makes me sad thinking about it.
MissFamous182 MissFamous182 8 years
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Ya Ginger, I like Paul but they both had their faults and Paul was a lot older so it wasn't that tremendous of a story like Heath. All good in the hood homes!!!
hockeytown hockeytown 8 years
So sad. He was so young and had so much talent.didn't know him but breaks my heart every time I read about him.RIP HEATH you are missed everyday.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i still remember the day we found out about this and it truly was one of the most stunning turn of events. it's shocking to see how things can all change in a year, and i hope that everyone's healing as best as can be expected.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Matildia looks so much like her dad... he'll definitely live on in her.
ashleygaidhlig ashleygaidhlig 8 years
This still is unbelievable. So sad to see him go at such a young age.
cupcakers cupcakers 8 years
Honestly, I still can't believe this happened, if I really think about it, it breaks my heart. I was so shocked when I heard the sad news, I wasn't a big fan but always liked him. Feel like he was something special and had so much potential to show the world his talent, and now he's gone. And oh my Matilda and Michelle, it brings tears thinking about those 2 and his family. Sigh.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I never thought he would be one of the celebrities to die prematurely. He was an incredible actor and a great father, he will truly be missed. R.I.P. Heath.
Ginger Ginger 8 years
Wadey, I like Paul Newman. Just responding to the post above which suggests that Paul is more worthy than Heath. (Something I'm sure Paul would not even be comfortable with.) I actually think Heath is a much bigger loss, because he was so young, with a potentially brilliant career ahead and a young child who will grow up without her father. Paul lived a good long life, raised many kids and was able to do all the things he ever wanted, while Heath was just getting started.
Black-Velveteen Black-Velveteen 8 years
The last picture is so cute.. I miss Heathus :cry:
wackydeli wackydeli 8 years
his poor little girl,its sad when people are so depressed or addicted to drugs they cant remember what matters most:their children. RIP
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Well God damn Ginger. No Newman bashing, he's off the chain.
Allyace Allyace 8 years
I'm still heartbroken over this. I had the biggest crush on him when 10 Things I Hate About You came out and he was a wonderful actor. I am so very sorry for his daughter. I truly hope he wins the Oscar for his performance in Batman.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well put, Ginger.
myladybloom myladybloom 8 years
Aristocrat: can't we mourn for all of them? All deaths are equally sad. However, it's worse when the death is unexpected or untimely, like Heath's or, yes, all the people who died in the war. And of course, Paul Newman will be missed too. They will all be missed. Death is always a tragedy.
Ginger Ginger 8 years
Except for the part where Paul Newman hooked up with Joanne while married to his first wife, who he dumped with three small children to marry Joanne. Oh and the smoking for years that brought on his lung cancer, not to mention how many people affected by his second hand smoke. Other than those parts, Paul Newman was as beautiful and talented a man as Heath.
audreystar audreystar 8 years
God I loved that man. :cry: I can't believe it has been almost a year. So very sad.
sayhk sayhk 8 years
aristocrat1 aristocrat1 8 years
God bless him but I rather celebrate Paul Newman who lived a good happy life than messed up ones in Hollywood. Our men and women who lose their lives fighting for our freedom too in Afghanistan and Iraq than Ledger.What a twisted shallow society.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 8 years
So sad, he was a fantastic actor and father and he is definitely still missed. RIP Heath.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
I still get so sad when I think about it. What a senseless, tragic loss.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
I still feel bad for little Matilda, they seemed to have a real close relationship. R.I.P Heath.
spicyaroma spicyaroma 8 years
I still can't believe it. He'll truly be so missed The last picture is so adorable, it breaks my heart :(
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