Obiturary: Heath Ledger

NEW YORK (AP) - Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday in a Manhattan apartment, facedown in bed with prescription sleeping pills nearby, police said. He was 28.

There was no obvious indication of suicide, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. The apartment where was found is believed to be Ledger's home, he said.

While not a marquee movie star, Ledger was an award-winning actor who chose his roles carefully rather than cashing in on big-money parts. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain," where he met Michelle Williams, who played his wife in the film. The two had a daughter, the now-2-year-old Matilda, and lived together until they split up last year.

His death was a shocking and unforeseen conclusion for one of Hollywood's bright young stars. Though his leading-man looks propelled him to early stardom in films like "10 Things I Hate About You" and "A Knight's Tale," his career took a notable turn toward dramatic and brooding roles with 2001's "Monster's Ball."

Ledger eschewed Hollywood glitz in favor of a bohemian life in Brooklyn, where he became one of the borough's most famous residents before apparently moving to Manhattan. "Brokeback" would be his breakthrough role, establishing him as one of his generation's finest talents and an actor willing to take risks.

Ledger was born in 1979 in Perth, in western Australia, to a mining engineer and a French teacher, and got his first acting role playing Peter Pan at age 10 at a local theater company.