Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death ruled accidental
Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the hearts of fans and fellow actors during decades of an award-winning career, accidentally died of a deadly mix of drugs, New York medical officials announced Friday.
The office of New York’s chief medical examiner said that Hoffman had died from “acute mixed drug intoxication” from substances including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. His body was found Feb. 2 in his apartment in Manhattan’s West Village.
Police have said that Hoffman was found with a needle in his arm and at least 50 packets containing heroin in the apartment. Police also said they found unused syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a drug used to treat heroin addiction, a blood-pressure medication and a muscle relaxant.
An earlier autopsy was inconclusive; medical examiners said more tests were needed, leading to Friday’s ruling of accidental death.
Hoffman, who spent much of his career cultivating roles that showcased his talents as a character actor, had entered a drug rehabilitation program in 1989 when he was 22. He made no secret of his battles with drugs, telling CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2006 that he had used anything he could get his hands on before getting help.
The actor had been sober for more than two decades when he began using drugs again. He said he had checked himself into rehab in May 2013.
Hoffman, who was 46, won an Academy Award for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the 2005 film “Capote” and was nominated three times for best supporting actor. He was also acclaimed for his work in the theater and for a career that included directing and producing.
Hoffman’s death set off an outpouring of grief from fans and fellow stars who praised his work.
It also led the New York Police Department to search for the source of the drugs, an unusual step for what was believed at the time, and confirmed Friday, to be a death by drug overdose.
Heroin usage has been reported to be growing again in popularity, and a series of recent deaths were linked to a synthetic form of morphine — fentanyl. No fentanyl was found among the drugs in Hoffman’s apartment.
There were several arrests after Hoffman’s body was found, but charges related to the death were dismissed.
Robert Vineberg, a veteran jazz musician, is still charged with keeping a heroin stash in a Lower Manhattan apartment. Vineberg, who has said he was a friend of Hoffman, hasn’t been charged in Hoffman’s death and has denied selling the actor the heroin found in his apartment.
Hoffman’s funeral was held Feb. 7 at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan. He is survived by three children and their mother.
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