At the Brawta Caribbean Cafe two blocks from the residence, owner Jennifer Ewers said Ledger was a frequent guest who always ordered jerk chicken, rice and beans, and sorrel.
"He was a perfect gentleman. He comes in here with his hoodie on, reads a book, and gives you a peace sign," she said. "He was always with his daughter, playing hide-and-seek among the plants, or on his skateboard, peeking his head in."
Fans left flowers and candles Wednesday outside Ledger's apartment in the tony SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan on Wednesday. Khaled Ali, 41, a stage manager for a Broadway show, dropped off a candle on his way to work, saying he and fellow cast members were devastated.
"I felt a connection with him as an actor, as a fellow in the theater community," he said. "With `Brokeback Mountain' he touched me personally in telling the story of my community. It was very touching."
Ledger was known for grueling, intense roles that became his trademark after he got his start in teen movies like "10 Things I Hate About You." Thereafter, he avoided the easy path in favor of roles that forced him to bury his Australian accent and downplay his leading-man looks: the tormented gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain"; a drug addict in "Candy"; an incarnation of Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There."
Playing the Joker in the upcoming Batman movie "The Dark Knight" may be his final finished performance.
Ledger split last year from Williams, who played his wife in "Brokeback." The two had a daughter, the now 2-year-old Matilda. Wednesday evening, Williams and Matilda returned to their Brooklyn home from Trollhattan, Sweden. The 27-year-old actress had been shooting scenes for the film "Mammoth," said Martin Stromberg, a spokesman for film production company Memfis Film.
"She received the news at her hotel late last night," Stromberg said, adding he had not spoken to the actress after she learned of Ledger's death.
A day after Ledger's death, at least six TV satellite trucks were parked on the block or around the corner from his Manhattan apartment, with a stream of TV reporters doing their standups. There were bouquets, letters and candles piled in front of the building.
A handwritten letter on plain white paper anchored by votive candles read:
"Heath, how could anyone hate 10 things about you. We couldn't find one bad thing about you. God bless your soul, you're in our prayers."