Philip Seymour Hoffman's Struggle With Addiction

A look at what could have caused the Oscar winner to relapse after being clean for 20 years.
3:00 | 02/03/14

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Transcript for Philip Seymour Hoffman's Struggle With Addiction
But the big story is the new details coming out about the death of oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at the age of 46. Evidence of heroin found at the scene. Police still investigating. Hoffman had spoken openly about his battle with drug abuse that started when he was a teenager and came back at the height of his career. He earn an acami award. I flew home terply destraugt. Reporter: And played the devil. Did you touch anything? Reporter: It was Philip Seymour Hoffman's real-life battle with drug abuse that may have led to his sudden death. In 2006, he addressed his drug and alcohol addiction. I got sober, uh -- I years old. So this was drugs or alcohol or both? Uh, it was all -- all that stuff, yeah. Anything I could get my hands on. Yeah. Yeah. I liked it all. Reporter: Hoffman got sober before he hit it big in Hollywood. I have so much empathy for the young actors who are 19 and beautiful and famous and rich. I was like, oh, my god, I would be dead. 19, beautiful, famous, rich, that would be it. Reporter: He had been clean for 22 years. Last year, he checked into a ten-day substance abuse program for heroin. On Sunday morning, he was found dead from an apparent drug overdose. An envelope of heroin near his body. A needle still in his arm. What did you do that for? You know he's on aid. Reporter: His legacy is almost impossible to rival. He leaves behind two children that he told he loved more than anything. When you have children, the idea of heartbreak changes. You're kind of heart broken all the time in this lovely way. You didn't think you could love something like that. And joining us, peter Castro, our good friend, deputy editor of "People" magazine. And Christina wanzelak. Great to have you here. It did appear that he was clean for decades. But as you know, more than anyone, it is a daily struggle when it comes to addiction. It is. It's a chronic ill ps. It needs to be created every day. You cannot stay clean and sober today off of what we do yesterday. It's so easy to forget that it's chronic. Because recovering addicts live such beautiful, fulfilling, healthy lives. I've been soesh over 20 years. I do today the same things I did 20 years ago to maintain it. It's easy to forget what a deadly, chronic illness that recovering people have. This was such a shock. To people. Um, do you get any sense among people that knew him that there was trouble brewing? I think one of the amazing things about addiction is -- the truth is, who knows what is happening on that inner circle? And who he's telling the truth to about how he feels and what is happening in his life? Addiction is a very isolating disease. The sicker we feel and the worse we feel about ourselves, ironically, the time we need people most, is generally when we retreat into ourselves more and more. Which is where relapse seems to come out of nowhere. But it did seem, peter, there were some people who knew. Or suspected. Yeah. Doing this job, um covering pop culture, Hollywood, you hear things. And we have been hearing for awhile that Philip Seymour Hoffman sort of fell off the wagon recently. Our sources are telling us for the story we're doing for "People" this week that in sundance he seemed disheveled and out Kristin Johnson, his friend, tweeted a tribute. She said she wasn't shocked. He said he now knows what heartbreak is. That makes this especially heart breaking that three kids, 10 and under, weren't enough to keep him ttherred. It's not about being enough. Not. If really loving people in our lives were enough to keep a recovering person sober, there would be no relapse. Wives and children and husbands and friends are great reasons to stay sober. But they absolutely will not keep you sober. It doesn't matter how many loved one use have around you if you're not treating the illness that you have. And -- the fact that he was able to be out front and be as successful as he was. Just in a short amount of time. 50 films in -- Yeah. Besides the obvious tragedy of losing such a great person, the culture is losing great actor. He made every film he was in so much better. He had such range. He is doing a popcorn movie. Very few people can do that, go from one to another. I don't think we saw the best of his work. And on Broadway as well. Absolutely. Peter, Kristina, thank you both. Moving on now to a project

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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