Michelle to Matilda: 'Daddy Went Away'

Michelle Williams, Heath Ledger's ex-fiancee, is shielding their 2-year-old daughter Matilda from his death.

According to Us Weekly, "Michelle basically told Matilda, 'Daddy went away.' Matilda still doesn't grasp it."

Williams said her daughter is her source of strength as she grieves.

"All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day," the actress said in a statement Friday. "His family and I watch Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals, and takes steps two at a time, and we know that he is with us still."

Williams and her daughter arrived in Perth, Australia, for Ledger's funeral on Wednesday, the same day New York City's medical examiner ruled his death an accidental overdose caused by the combination of six prescription drugs. Ledger was found dead in his downtown Manhattan apartment Jan. 22 with bottles of prescription drugs nearby.

Friday, in her first statement since Ledger died, Williams said, "Please respect our need to grieve privately. My heart is broken." The statement was released by Ledger's spokeswoman. Williams has stayed out of sight since rushing home to New York after learning of Ledger's death two weeks ago.

According to People magazine, the actress was "devastated" upon hearing the news, and rushed off a movie shoot in Sweden to fly back to New York with their daughter. On Jan. 23, she arrived at the Brooklyn home the two once shared, where she was greeted by makeshift memorials of flowers and letters.

Williams, 27, and Ledger, 28, met while filming "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005. She played his wife in the movie. The couple dated, lived together in Brooklyn, N.Y., and had Matilda in October 2005. Despite rumors about a wedding, the two split in September 2007.

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