Rising Hollywood star Heath Ledger, 28, passed away this afternoon in his downtown Manhattan apartment.

The cause of death has yet to be determined, but New York City Police speculate that drugs may have been a factor and say that the investigation is still ongoing.

The actor was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the controversial movie "Brokeback Mountain" and had a highly-anticipated role as the Joker in this summer's upcoming Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight." He is the father of a 2-year-old daughter with actress Michelle WIlliams.

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