Friday 14 December 2018

'He is very much alive in our house' - Heath Ledger's sister pays tribute to late star on 10th anniversary of his death

Heath Ledger with his sister Kate in 1999
Heath Ledger with his sister Kate in 1999
Actors Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams arrive to the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Heath Ledger (R) and actress Michelle Williams, from "Brokeback Mountain" arrives to the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Actors Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams arrive at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Late actor Heath Ledger's family, mother Sally (C), father Kim (L) and sister Kate give their acceptance speech at the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California on February 22, 2009. Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. AFP PHOTO / Gabriel BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
The sister of the late actor Heath Ledger, Kate Ledger leaves the press conference held to mark one year since the actor's death, at Cottesloe Beach on January 23, 2009 in Perth, Australia
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger speak onstage during the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Family of late actor Heath Ledger, father Kim Ledger (C), mother Sally (L) and sister Kate (R), pose in the press room after accepting the award for Best Supporting Actor for "The Dark Night" at the 81st Annual Academy Awards held at Kodak Theatre on February 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Actor Heath Ledger and actress Michelle Williams arrive at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 13, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Heath Ledger's sister has paid tribute to her late brother on the tenth anniversary of his death.

The Australian actor tragically died at the age of 28 in 2008 from an accidental overdose in New York City and his sister Kate says her family preserves his memory by speaking about him often.

"Heath is hugely important in the lives of my children. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t share stories or talk about him. He is very much alive in our house," she told WHO magazine.

"It’s especially difficult to see his moving images on screen and hear his voice, something which we as a family have had to learn to cope with constantly. But it’s a blessing that we have all the images and footage so that we can share a part of him with our girls."

Late actor Heath Ledger's family, mother Sally (C), father Kim (L) and sister Kate give their acceptance speech at the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California on February 22, 2009. Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. AFP PHOTO / Gabriel BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Late actor Heath Ledger's family, mother Sally (C), father Kim (L) and sister Kate give their acceptance speech at the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California on February 22, 2009. Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. AFP PHOTO / Gabriel BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Kate said that the Ledgers, who accepted Heath's posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2009, are in "constant contact" with his former partner Michelle Williams, with whom he had a daughter Matilda (12).

"We keep in constant contact with Michelle and Matilda and visit frequently. She is an amazing girl and a source of delight to us all," she added.

She described her brother as her "soulmate", adding that they would speak every day regardless of what part of the world they were in after Heath moved to Los Angeles from his native Perth in the '90s to pursue his acting career.

"We spoke almost every day regardless of where Heath was in the world or what he was doing. Our conversations ranged from talking about projects to what we were having for dinner. Nothing was off limits," she explained.

Actors Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams arrive to the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Actors Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams arrive to the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Heath's friend Jake Gyllenhaal, who starred opposite him in 2005's Brokeback Mountain, said that he still misses the late actor, whom he considered one of his closest friends, revealing that the Heath even turned down a potentially career-changing role because he could sense a friendship with him.

"I was auditioning for Moulin Rouge! Baz Luhrmann had chosen three actors. It was Ewan [McGregor], it was Heath, and me," he told GQ. "I never met Heath, I only heard about him. They would literally put me in a room and lock the door and Heath would come in and then Heath would be shuffled through the door. I never saw him."

"When Brokeback Mountain came out and it got all the attention it did, I remember, a few months later, Heath called me and he was like, 'Hey, mate, I got some news for you.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Baz just offered me his next movie. I just wanted you to know, I f**ing turned it down!' So that was how much Heath loved me, you know. That was how I met him."

Jake is godfather to Heath's daughter Matilda.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger speak onstage during the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger speak onstage during the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

"I miss him as a human being," he added. "And I miss working with him. And what an unfortunate thing it is that we won't be able to see the beauty of his expression."

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