Heath Ledger’s body return to Australia

Society Materials 6 February 2008 10:15 (UTC +04:00)
Heath Ledger’s body return to Australia

(showbizspy.com) - Heath Ledger's grieving family managed to avoid the paparazzi Tuesday as they returned to their hometown of Perth, Australia - following the Brokeback Mountain star's death in a Downtown Manhattan apartment last month.

Several security guards and police officers watched as Ledger's father, Kim, and several other relatives emerged from their plane after other passengers had disembarked.

Kim Ledger refused to answer questions from the media as the entourage quickly entered an elevator in the airport terminal.

According to reports from Australia, members of Ledger's family were driven across the tarmac and out of the airport, evading the media circus that had gathered in the arrival hall.

There was no immediate indication that Heath Ledger's body or remains had arrived.

Ledger's U.S.based publicist Mara Buxbaum has said the family wish to keep funeral arrangements private, and Michelle Williams, Heath's former fiance and the mother of his 2-year-old daughter Matilda, has requested privacy for those in mourning.

The family will reportedly hold a private ceremony and either bury Ledger's remains or have them cremated and interred at the family's plot at a cemetery in Perth, where his two grandparents lie. The timing of the funeral remains unknown.

Ledger, nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Brokeback Mountain," was found dead in his Downtown Manhattan apartment Jan. 22. He was 28. Autopsy results are expected sometime this week.

As Ledger's hometown of Perth prepared for the tragic actor's funeral, its residents expressed sadness at his sudden death - and outrage at rumors that he was a drug user.

"If a person dies, let him go in peace. All this rubbish they bring up about drugs and everything else, I think it's a lot of rubbish," said Margaret Byrne, a 58-year-old catering supervisor at Royal Perth Hospital.

Much of that speculation was fueled by video footage showing Ledger at a Hollywood hotel party where drugs were being taken two years ago.

Ledger was a source of pride for Perth - a metropolis of some 1.3 million people that lies on the edge of Australia's vast Outback and is thousands of miles from the nearest major city.