Heath Ledger first came to prominence in the 1999 teen romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. Ledger played the role of Patrick Verona, an edgy bad boy with a heart of gold who ends up with Julia Stiles' Katarina Stratford. At the time, it was easy to dismiss the actor as the latest heartthrob — easy on the eyes but lacking depth. He quickly proved everyone wrong. After he was cast in 2001's Monster's Ball, which was widely praised and won Halle Berry an Oscar, Hollywood recognized that he wasn't just a pretty face.
In 2005 Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. He played Ennis Del Mar, who falls in love with a fellow cowboy (Jake Gyllenhaal) in a time and place where their love wasn't really possible. While he didn't win, he solidified his place as one of Hollywood's most watched rising stars. But his role as The Joker in 2008's Batman: The Dark Knight was truly iconic and earned Ledger an Oscar for best supporting actor. Sadly, the award was posthumous and he never lived to see the accolades. Ten years ago this Monday, Heath Ledger was found dead in an apartment from an accidental overdose of prescription pills. Just like that, one of Hollywood's brightest lights was gone.
The hashtag #10YearsWithoutHeath began trending on Twitter. People shared old photos:
Others took the opportunity to revisit some highlights of his career:
People expressed their gratitude for the late actor:
As much as I could miss you every day with every cell of my body and wished you were here, that wouldn’t change the fact that you're gone.— lucy (@taIktonight) January 22, 2018
I just have to remember you and remind everyone the goodly, kindhearted and outstanding person you were. Love you angel #10YearsWithoutHeath pic.twitter.com/mzhi7qoMjl
Ledger's colleagues, friends, and lovers also chimed in:
Jake Gyllenhaal spoke about his friend to E! News on Monday while promoting his new film, Wildlife, at Sundance:
Friendship can’t be explained in a sound bite or can it in three-minute interview and those who can do it I find sort of odd. I happen to not be one of those people ... I think Heath meant a lot to a lot of people, the people who were fans and the people who saw his work and were moved by his work and the people who knew him as a person … He was just an incredible force and is still missed.
Busy Philipps shared a series of emotional videos on her Instagram story:
I was just driving and I was thinking about my friends Heath who died 10 years ago and this song came on, 'Time to Pretend.' It came out after he passed away and I remember when it came out, because [I thought] it made me think of him. I just thought he would have liked this song. And for some reason, every time I hear this song… it’s weird.
Ledger's ex-wife, Michelle Williams, said:
In all honesty, for pretty much everything else, I feel like I'm a believer in not fighting circumstances, accepting where you are and where you've been. In pretty much all senses but one, I would be able to go totally down that line of thinking were it not for Matilda not having her dad. You know, that's just something that doesn't... I mean, it just won't ever be right.
And his sister Kate told Who Online:
For me, Heath has left us wiser, more connected and less selfish. We cherish his beautiful girl and all the memories that we have. Like anyone who has lost a family member, his loss is still enormous and we feel it everyday.
While he was still alive, Heath Ledger said this: