A Sad Day for Tinseltown : Blog Of The Nation Heath Ledger dies at the young age of 28.
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A Sad Day for Tinseltown

Heath Ledger at the Venice Film Festival in 2007. Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images hide caption

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Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

When I heard the news of Heath Ledger's death yesterday I was shocked. It was the got-sucker-punched-in-the- gut-and-can't-breathe variety of shock -- the same kind I'm sure people felt when they first found out about James Dean and River Phoenix. The disbelief was quickly followed by a deep sadness: my thoughts immediately went to his two-year-old daughter, Matilda, who will never get to know her dad. And then I thought about all the great performances he still had left in him. After all, he was only 28. I feel like we were just beginning to see what he was capable of, with his Oscar-nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain and his dark, disturbing portrayal of the Joker in the upcoming The Dark Knight. Some people might think it's ridiculous to mourn the death of a celebrity. But there are some actors you just feel like you know -- or, rather, you feel like if you did know them, you'd be really good friends. Heath was one of those actors. His performances were multifaceted, and he brought a refreshing honesty and depth to the screen that is normally the purview of more veteran thespians. You can read more about Hollywood's reaction to Heath's death here, and about the cause of death here.