Philip Seymour Hoffman’s family ‘devastated’ by his death

2014-02-03 09:21

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New York – The family of Philip Seymour Hoffman say they are “devastated” by the Hollywood actor’s death.

Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment yesterday in what a New York police source described as an apparent drug overdose.

In a statement issued through his publicist, Hoffman’s family said: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone.

“This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers,” it added.

A representative said the family would not make any further statements for now.

New York City police said Hoffman (46) was discovered unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Greenwich Village apartment by police responding to a 911 call yesterday. Emergency Medical Service workers declared him dead on the scene, An investigation was under way.

A police spokesperson said investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and two small plastic bags in the apartment containing a substance suspected of being heroin. A police department source earlier said Hoffman had died of an apparent drug overdose.

Hoffman, who is survived by three children with his partner Mimi O’Donnell, had detailed his struggles with substance abuse in the past.

Onlookers gathered yesterday afternoon near Hoffman’s apartment in a four-storey red brick building in a fashionable neighbourhood of the West Village, where many other actors have homes. The entire block was cordoned off by police.

Rachel Melman, a neighbour who described herself as a fan, said she frequently saw him around the neighbourhood.

“I never spoke to him, but I always wanted to,” she said. She added that she would see him sitting on the scaffolding of the building, often dressed in socks and no shoes, “just reading and hanging out”.

“Of course I’m sad. It was such a shocker,” she said.

CNN, citing a law enforcement official, reported that Hoffman was last seen alive at 8pm on Saturday. He had been expected to pick up his children yesterday but failed to show up. This prompted playwright David Katz and another person to go to his apartment where they found him dead.

Hoffman spoke in the past of struggling with drugs. In a 2006 interview, he told CBS he had at times abused “anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all.”

His death, if confirmed from an overdose, would recall the 2008 death of actor Heath Ledger, who was found dead in his Manhattan apartment from a lethal combination of drugs.

Born in upstate New York near Rochester, Hoffman was one of the leading actors of his generation. He won the Best Actor Oscar for the 2005 biographical film, Capote, in which he played writer Truman Capote. He also received three Academy Award nominations as best supporting actor for The Master last year, Doubt in 2009 and Charlie Wilson’s War in 2008.

After more than a dozen earlier roles, Hoffman burst onto the film scene in 1997’s Boogie Nights. In it, he played a lovelorn gay man in a movie about the porn industry that helped make Mark Wahlberg a star.

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