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Autopsy scheduled for Philip Seymour Hoffman

2014-02-04 07:56
New York - An autopsy on the body of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was to take place in New York on Monday, a day after he was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose.

The sudden death of the 46-year-old father of three young children, hailed by many as the finest character actor of his generation, has shocked Hollywood and devastated his family.

Police said he was found on the bathroom floor in his Manhattan apartment, a syringe in his arm, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Envelopes of what appears to have been heroin were also found.

He was last seen on Saturday evening and the alarm was reportedly raised by his estranged girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell after he failed to turn up to see his children on Sunday.

She was also quoted by US media as saying he was high when she last saw him on Saturday afternoon and spoke to him Saturday evening.

Police say his death seems to have been the result of an overdose but refused to release further details until the New York medical examiner's office conducts the autopsy.

In a career spanning more than 20 years and 50 films, Hoffman mesmerized filmgoers with his portrayal of some of the most repellent and yet electrifying characters of the silver screen.

He won a best actor Oscar for his performance as Truman Capote in the 2005 film Capote and was nominated for three further Academy Awards as a supporting actor in 2008, 2009 and 2013.

Broadway announced Monday that it would dim its lights for one minute at 7:45 pm on Wednesday in memory of the celebrated stage and screen actor.

Charlotte St Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, described Hoffman as a "true artist who loved theatre.

"We'll always be grateful for his boundless and profound talent that he shared with us on the Broadway stage. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans," she added.

But for all his talent, Hoffman struggled with addiction. He spoke less than a year ago about a recent relapse into heroin use, having been sober for two decades.

Celebrity website TMZ reported that Hoffman admitted in May to falling off the wagon more than a year previously, starting with prescription pills and escalating to snorting heroin.

At the time he said the heroin binge had "lasted a week or so" and that he checked himself into a rehab center for 10 days.

He credited what he called "a great group of friends and family" for helping him, and continued to work on film projects.

But in August he dropped out of shooting the spy thriller Child 44 for "undisclosed reasons" and was replaced by Vincent Cassel, sparking rumors about his health.

The last time he was seen at an official event was at the Sundance Film Festival in the US state of Utah in mid-January, where some witnesses described him as pale and disheveled.

'Tragic and sudden loss'

Since his death, it has emerged that he was recently living apart from O'Donnell and their children. The rented apartment in Greenwich Village where he died was close to the family home.

Talking about his addiction to drugs and alcohol, he told the CBS show 60 minutes in 2006: "I was 22 and I got panicked in my life."

His family has released a brief statement asking for privacy to mourn their "tragic and sudden loss."

Tributes have poured in from fellow celebrities and actors.

"I feel so fortunate to have known and worked with the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman and am deeply saddened by his passing," said Julianne Moore, who co-starred with Hoffman in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Big Lebowski.

"He was a giant talent," said Tom Hanks, who starred with Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War.

In one of his most recent roles, Hoffman played game master Plutarch Heavensbee in the second installment of the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise.

He had been cast in the final two films of the series, and industry publication Variety said the movies would be released in November 2014 and 2015 as planned.

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