Actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a Manhattan apartment earlier today. The SoHo apartment is owned by actress Mary-Kate Olsen (and presumably sublet by Heath) and police do not suspect that there was any foul play.

That said, Ledger was found naked in a bed, surrounded by several pills that were also scattered around the room. The cause of Heath Ledger’s death has not yet been confirmed by the New York Police Department, but this information will likely be forthcoming in the days and weeks to come. His approximate time of death was 3:30pm EST on January 22nd. This report comes via Slashfilm.

Although Heath Ledger is not one of the five actors that I enjoy watching most, he has been involved in several projects that I did like watching, including The Brothers Grimm, A Knight’s Tale, and The Patriot. He’s a part of a generation of actors who have shown a lot of promise, demonstrating enough talent that they may one day usurp mainstays like Al Pacino and Tom Hanks. You cannot deny the acting ability of guys like Heath, Matt Damon, Ed Norton, and Jude Law.

Rest in peace to one of the finer actors of our time. Heath Ledger is survived by his wife Michelle Williams and daughter Matilda. Look for Ledger as he stars as the Joker in The Dark Knight, which is currently in post-production.

Update (2/6/08): Here’s a quote from the Ledger family statement – “While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath’s accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.”