Actor Heath Ledger dies at 28
* Story Highlights
* Police: Ledger's housekeeper found him unresponsive in a Manhattan apartment
* Ledger was declared dead at about 3:30 p.m.
* The Academy Award nominated actor was the father of a young daughter
* Police: Pills that appear to be over-the-counter sleeping medication found near bed
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said.
The Academy Award nominated actor was 28.
"Pills were found in the vicinity of the bed," police spokesman Paul Browne told CNN.
"This is being looked at as a possible overdose, but that is not confirmed yet."
The pills appeared to be over-the-counter sleeping medication, said police spokeswoman Barbara Chen.
Ledger was unresponsive when he was found by a housekeeper who had gone to wake him for an appointment with a masseuse in the Soho apartment, Browne said.
The apartment is owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, The New York Times reported.
Ledger was declared dead at about 3:30 p.m., Browne said.
In 2005, the actor played Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain," about two cowboys who had a secret relationship.
The role earned him the Oscar nomination.
Ledger was born in Perth, Australia. He has a young daughter with actress Michelle Williams, his co-star in "Brokeback Mountain."
"He was just so respected in the industry," said Kim Serafin, senior editor of In Touch Weekly.
"It's just horribly tragic. He was just a fine actor and a good person, so this is horribly sad and very unexpected."
Ledger was always focused on his career, Serafin said.
Some of his other film credits also include "A Knight's Tale" in 2001 and "The Four Feathers" in 2002.
The follow-up to the action hit "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight" reunites director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale, who reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. In the new film, Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker.
The film also stars Academy Award winner Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules") as Alfred; Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger ("Brokeback Mountain") as arch-villain The Joker; Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Jim Gordon; Aaron Eckhart as District Attorney Harvey Dent, who becomes better known as another of Batman's arch-nemeses, Two-Face; Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes; and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby") as Lucius Fox.
"The Dark Knight" is being produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan, with Kevin De La Noy, Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan serving as executive producers. Nolan is directing the film from a screenplay written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David Goyer. "The Dark Knight" is based upon Batman characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics.
"The Dark Knight" will be presented by Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Legendary Pictures. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.