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Phillip Seymour Hoffman Dies at 46

Law-enforcement officials said a hypodermic needle and two glassine envelopes containing what is believed to be heroin was found in the apartment on Bethune Street in the West Village.


The 46-year-old actor was found unconscious in the bathroom of his fourth-floor apartment in the Pickwick House around 11:15 a.m. by screenwriter David Bar Katz, who called 911, a law-enforcement official said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. "He had a needle sticking out of his arm," the official said.


Mr. Hoffman was last seen around 8 p.m. Saturday, the official said. He was supposed to pick up his three children—two daughters and a son—from their mother, Mimi O'Donnell, Sunday morning; when he didn't, Mr. Katz and a friend went to check on him, the official said.


The family of Mr. Hoffman said in a statement released by his manager, "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone."
The New York Police Department is investigating, and the city medical examiner's office is working to determine the exact cause of death. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said.
The envelopes found near Mr. Hoffman were stamped with two separate drug brands, a second law-enforcement official said. One had purple letters with the Ace of Spades written out, while the second was stamped with a red ace of hearts, the official said.


Detectives from NYPD's narcotics squad will test the drugs to determine if they were tainted and work with authorities to trace the brands and determine if they have been linked to any other cases of drug overdose, officials said.


The accomplished actor and director won the Academy Award for best actor for his role as famed author Truman Capote in the 2005 film "Capote." He also had a strong following in New York's theater scene, starring in plays like 2012's "Death of a Salesman" and directing others, like 1999's "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings." He was nominated for a Tony Award three times.
Mr. Hoffman's breakout role, however, was in 1997's "Boogie Nights." He also received accolades for his roles in high-profile films such as 1998's "The Big Lebowski" and 1999's "Magnolia."


Most recently, he was shooting the final two "Hunger Games" movies, which Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. LGF +1.57% had been set to release in November 2014 and 2015. Mr. Hoffman had finished most of his work, said a person close to the production, and only modest rewrites will be needed to accommodate his absence in a few remaining scenes.
The actor spoke publicly about his struggle with substance abuse as a young adult. "It was everything I could get my hands on," Mr. Hoffman said in a 2006 interview with CBS's "60 Minutes." "I liked it all."


Mr. Hoffman said in the interview that he first entered rehab for drug and alcohol addiction at the age of 22.
Outside the six-story building in the West Village, fan Adam Zenko, 40, placed white roses outside the front door. The paralegal, who lives nearby, said his favorite film of Mr. Hoffman's was "Synecdoche, New York."
"It's horrible, just horrible," he said. "I think he's the greatest actor of his generation."
Irakli Tskhadadze, 38, co-owns Entwine, a bar and restaurant that he said Mr. Hoffman frequented. When the actor was preparing for his role in "Death of a Salesman" he would come in once or twice a week to read, Mr. Tskhadadze said.
About two years ago, a group of people asked to take photos with Mr. Hoffman and get autographs, but a bartender shooed them off, Mr. Tskhadadze said.


"He was quiet," he added. "He would more or less keep to himself. If I didn't know he was Philip Seymour Hoffman I wouldn't guess that he was a big celebrity."


Peter Heron, 35, said he used to sit with Mr. Hoffman at Entwine, where the actor would give advice to theater students in the early evenings as he drank beer. "He was a very friendly guy," Mr. Heron said.
Amy Gruenhut, 33, who lives nearby, said she often saw Mr. Hoffman in the neighborhood. "He looked depressed or sad within the last two weeks," she said. "Just looked like something was off."


Mr. Hoffman was a regular at the Chocolate Bar, a candy store, and took his kids out for ice cream in the summertime, said assistant manager Kate St. Cyr. "His kids loved peanut-butter swirl," she said. Ms. St. Cyr, 24, added she would remember Mr. Hoffman as "a really sweet dad. He seemed to have a really great relationship with his kids."

article by Pervaiz Shallwani

Wall Street Journal

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