Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead, NYPD says

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman backstage at the 63rd Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman backstage at the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards with his award for best actor, drama for "Capote" at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 16, 2006 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead yesterday of what police called an apparent drug overdose in his West Village apartment.

Hoffman, 46, was "unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the bathroom floor" of his Bethune Street building at 11:36 a.m., the NYPD said. His friend, playwright David Katz, discovered Hoffman's body and called 911, the NYPD said.

The actor was found with a syringe in his arm, a law enforcement source said. Glassine envelopes containing what is believed to be heroin were also found with Hoffman, the NYPD said.

Hoffman's family called the news "tragic and sudden."

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone," the family said in a statement.

Police roped off access to the street for much of Sunday, as members of the NYPD's Crime Scene Unit converged on the apartment. A small crowd of about a dozen onlookers gathered in the afternoon, joining a large crowd of reporters.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Police reopened the area around 7 p.m. after the medical examiner's office removed Hoffman's body. An autopsy is to be performed Monday. Hoffman had a son and two daughters with longtime girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell.

Courtaney Craig, 26, of Manhattan, like several others, left a bouquet of flowers in front of the building.

"I'm a huge fan of his," said Craig, a program coordinator at the A&E network. "I'm really shocked by his death. He gave everything he had to all of his roles. This moment is not representative of his life and career."

@Newsday

The Showtime network recently announced that Hoffman would star in "Happyish," a comedy series about a middle-aged man looking for happiness.

Hoffman, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the 2005 movie "Capote," starred in dozens of film, TV and theater productions. But he also struggled with drug addiction.

He relapsed last year after more than two decades of sobriety, entering a 10-day rehabilitation program for his use of prescription drugs and heroin in May, according to published reports.

In 2006, just before his Oscar win, Hoffman told CBS News' "60 Minutes" that he nearly died from substance abuse in his early 20s after graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1989.

"It was all that [drugs and alcohol], yeah. It was anything I could get my hands on. . . . I liked it all," Hoffman told the news show. "I went [to rehab], I got sober when I was 22 years old. You get panicked . . . and I got panicked for my life."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Peter Heron, 35, a neighbor who said he had shared beers with Hoffman at a local bar in the past, said the actor advised theater students hoping to break into the industry.

"He had a huge appreciation for those starting out," Heron said. "He would try to help students and give them advice."

With AP

You also may be interested in: