Heath Ledger won an Oscar over a year after his death for his "astonishing" performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Family and friends had discussed how Ledger had immersed himself in the role, perhaps too deeply, and now it turns out the apartment where he was found dead was a "shrine" to the maniacal character.

Ledger, 28, was found dead in a Broome Street loft on January 22nd, 2008. He had an appointment for an afternoon massage, and when the massage therapist arrived, a housekeeper went to get Ledger, only to find him dead, apparently surrounded by pills. The Medical Examiner concluded that he died of an accidental overdose, "acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine" (those are generic names for OxyContin, Valium, Xanax, Restoril and Unisom).

Today, Page Six reports, "Police investigators who responded to the Oscar-winning actor’s Soho loft after his fatal 2008 drug overdose walked into a world filled with Batman comic books, literature on the Joker and clowns, small clown statues and recordings of Ledger practicing his oddly shifting Joker voice in high and low octaves, a law enforcement source revealed."

A source said, "He was studying up on the origins of clowns and all of the previous Jokers like Jack Nicholson’s character and Cesar Romero’s, who was the first Joker on TV... He was trying to make his role different from the roles of the other actors. He was even studying how to make his voice different from theirs."

At the time of his death, Ledger had completed filming The Dark Knight and was working on Terry Gilliam's film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. However, Ledger's father Kim thinks his son didn't completely escape the dark places he explored for the Joker. In a documentary, Kim Ledger showed a "Joker" diary that Heath prepared for the role, "He pretty well locked himself up in a hotel, in his apartment, for a month or so, to sort of galvanize the upcoming character in his own mind... I think this was just a whole new level."

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