(CNN) — Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment Sunday, February 2, 2014 of an apparent drug overdose, law enforcement sources said.
Police said Hoffman, 46, was found on the bathroom floor and pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators found two bags of what is believed to be heroin inside the fourth-floor apartment, law enforcement officials said.
A needle was in the actor’s left arm, and eight empty glassine-type bags that usually contain heroin were found in the apartment, law enforcement sources told CNN.
The bags were stamped with “Ace of Hearts” and “Ace of Spades” — street names for the heroin, the sources said.
Last year Hoffman revealed that he had entered rehab to deal with a drug problem, telling TMZ that he’d kicked a substance abuse habit for 23 years but recently relapsed.
In a 2011 interview with “60 Minutes,” he discussed his past struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.
“Anything I could get my hands on, I liked it all,” he said.
Asked why he decided to sober up, he replied, “You get panicked. … I was 22 and I got panicked for my life, it really was, it was just that. And I always think, ‘God, I have so much empathy for these young actors that are 19 and all of a sudden are beautiful and famous and rich.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God. I’d be dead.'”
According to TMZ, Hoffman said last year that he’d fallen off the wagon, started taking prescription pills and slipped into snorting heroin.
The actor’s public comments about his battle with substance abuse illustrate the struggles many addicts face, according to HLN’s Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist.
“Someone with opiate addiction, they are doing pushups their whole lives. And they must work on it all the time. And even working on it, there’s a high probability of relapse. And God willing, they get adequate treatment, and they re-engage in treatment, and things go well,” Pinsky said. “But often, it’s a frequently fatal condition. We just simply have to continually remind ourselves of that. And now it has taken a glorious, glorious talent from us.”
After he returned from rehab, Hoffman rented the apartment where his body was found Sunday, two neighbors said. The rest of his family lived elsewhere in the neighborhood.
As fans and neighbors gathered outside the apartment building where Hoffman was found, police were combing his apartment for evidence Sunday. As part of the investigation, authorities are looking into whether anyone was with the actor when he died, law enforcement officials said.
An autopsy will be conducted on Hoffman’s body Monday, said Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner.
Law enforcement sources told CNN that detectives will track Hoffman’s recent activities to see where he purchased what appears to be heroin.
Moving on the theory that Hoffman’s death was a drug overdose, they’ll now try to seek exactly where he bought it, the sources said.
This will involve searching his phone and trying to track some of his movements, the sources told CNN.
A federal law enforcement official said the “Ace of Hearts” and “Ace of Spades” stamps on the bags are familiar to law enforcement. They’re among hundreds of stamps drug distribution crews use to brand their products.
Heroin use on the rise, authorities warn
Authorities have warned that heroin addiction is soaring and noted an uptick in the availability of the drug.
Last week the Drug Enforcement Administration announced a heroin mill bust in the Bronx, New York, after they seized $8 million worth of the drug.
The DEA has warned that people who are addicted to opioid prescription pills are now finding highly pure heroin easier and cheaper to obtain.
It produces a similar, if more dangerous, high because unlike the pills, there is no way to regulate the dosage of heroin, given the undetermined purity.
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