WEST VILLAGE — Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his West Village apartment on Sunday with a hypodermic needle in his arm and bags of heroin nearby, sources say.
Hoffman, 46, had spoken openly of his struggles with addiction and had recently spent time in rehab for an escalating addiction to painkillers that ended in his snorting heroin, according to The New York Times.
Police are treating the death as an overdose but will not know without further investigation whether the actor died due to taking too much or if the drug was tainted.
The star, whose distinguished career earned him a Best Actor Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the film Capote, became a Hollywood fixture in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia and Boogie Nights, was found in his Bethune Street apartment at 11:30 a.m., police said.
Hoffman's body was discovered by a worried friend who checked on the actor after he failed to show up to pick up his children Sunday morning, police said.
Hoffman was found in his boxers, sitting on his bathroom's closed toilet, according to a source. He had a syringe in the upper part of his left forearm and two full bags of heroin were nearby, the source said. Police found five more emptied glassine bags in the trash, a police source said.
A glassine bag stamped with purple letters spelling "Ace of Spades" and a second bag with an image of an ace of hearts were found inside, sources said.
On a cursory search of the apartment where Hoffman had lived for a few months, detectives also found a bag of heroin on a bedroom windowsill, the source said. A number of biographies about Capote, who also struggled with addiction, were found in the space. Police were expected to obtain a warrant to further the investigation.
Hoffman lived alone in the unit, the source said, though his former longtime partner Mimi O'Donnell and their three children lived three blocks away in a home they had shared for years.
Hoffman spent a 10-day stint in rehab in May for using drugs, including heroin, according to TMZ. He spoke to 60 Minutes about his past addiction, but said until this summer's relapse he had been clean for decades.
"It was all that [drugs and alcohol], yeah, it was anything I could get my hands on...I liked it all," Hoffman told CBS' Steve Kroft in 2006. "I went [to rehab], I got sober when I was 22 years old ... You get panicked...and I got panicked for my life."
Hoffman was an accomplished director of stage productions and a member of several of New York's most established theater groups, and was an establishing member of LAByrinth and others. He earned two Tony nominations for Best Actor in a play for the 2000 revival of Sam Shepard's "True West" as well as a Best Actor nod in 2003 for a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night."
"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone," read a statement released by family. "This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving."
The Public Theater, where Hoffman was a beloved performer, tweeted, "It was an honor and privilege," and sent a link to photos of his staged work. And Liberation Theater Company posted an older photo of the star on Facebook, noting, "Rest in peace my friend. Condolences to your family, your close friends, and the world that bore witness to your generosity and immense talent."
Actor John Leguizamo, who posted photos of himself and Hoffman at a Knicks game, tweeted "We were robbed of a great talent today, R.I.P" and "I saw
#philipSeymoreHoffman a week ago at #chateau and got to tell him how much I admired him."
Originally from Fairport, N.Y., Hoffman left behind O'Donnell, the artistic director at LAByrinth Theater Company from whom he was recently estranged, and his three children, Cooper Alexander, Tallulah and Willa.