In a now-eerie interview with MTV in November, Ledger reflected on death and his daughter. "I feel good about dying now, because I feel like I'm alive in her, but at the same time, you don't want to die because you want to be around for the rest of her life," he said.
Later this year, Ledger is slated to appear as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," the latest film in the "Batman" franchise. In a November interview with The New York Times, he revealed how he'd thrown himself into the role, saying, "Last week, I probably slept an average of two hours a night. … I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."
Ledger was rumored to be dating Australian model Gemma Ward shortly before his death.
Back in Perth, Ledger's father said the actor's death was "tragic, untimely and accidental." Kim Ledger told reporters that his son was "down-to-earth, generous, kindhearted, life-loving, unselfish" and "extremely inspirational to many," he told reporters. "Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life," he said.
Hundreds of fans and onlookers gathered outside Ledger's Soho apartment Tuesday evening; as the news of his death spread, a makeshift memorial of flowers and notes was started.
Ledger was a widely recognized figure in his Manhattan neighborhood, where neighbor Michelle Vella said she frequently saw him carrying his 2-year-old daughter on his shoulders or having ice cream with her.
"It's a shock. He's so young," Taren Dolbashian told the AP. "He always seems so happy."