3 Feb 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead

4:59 pm on 3 February 2014

Oscar-winning American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead in his New York City apartment in what police described as an apparent drug overdose.

Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar in 2006 for his role in 'Capote'.

Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar in 2006 for his role in 'Capote'. Photo: AFP

A New York Police Department spokesperson said the 46-year-old was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Greenwich Village apartment by officers responding to an emergency 911 call, and emergency medical service workers declared him dead on the scene.

A police source told Reuters the actor died of an apparent drug overdose. He had checked into rehab in May for heroin use.

Hoffman, who is survived by three children with his partner Mimi O'Donnell, had detailed his struggles with substance abuse in the past.

In a 2006 interview he told CBS he had abused "anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all."

In a statement the actor's family said they were devastated by the loss and appreciated the outpouring of love and support they had received."This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving."

Born in upstate New York near Rochester, Hoffman won the best actor Oscar for the 2005 biographical film Capote in which he played writer Truman Capote. He also received three Academy Award nominations as best supporting actor, for The Master in 2013, Doubt in 2009 and Charlie Wilson's War" in 2008.

After more than a dozen earlier roles, Hoffman burst onto the film scene in 1997's Boogie Nights, in which he played a lovelorn gay man, in the movie about the porn industry that helped make Mark Wahlberg a star.

He appeared in blockbusters such as Twister and The Hunger Games series. But he was more often associated with the independent film world for his intense portrayals of often disturbing and complex characters in such films as Happiness, in which he played an obscene phone caller, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

Other noteworthy films included Moneyball, The Savages, Cold Mountain and Scent of a Woman, one of his earliest films, for which Al Pacino won an Oscar.

Hoffman also frequently appeared on Broadway, garnering Tony award nominations for Death of a Salesman, Long Day's Journey Into Night and True West.

Speaking in London, actor John Hurt who starred with Seymour Hoffman in 2003 film Owning Mahowny said it was a devastating loss.

New Zealand comedian Rhys Darby, who acted alongside Hoffman in the 2009 film The Boat that Rocked, says he is shocked by the actor's sudden death.

He says Hoffman used his acting abilities to hide his personal battles from the world and he had no idea he was having problems with drugs.

"Because he could play so many characters and become so many different people that he was obviously being able to hold back or hide characters within him or his own self deep enough that you wouldn't know what was really going on inside," says Darby.

"Here's us all thinking he's very secure and can do anything when really he was probably quite the opposite."