Shock, grief and tributes follow death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Oscar-winning actor found in his apartment with syringe still in his arm, police say

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 5:36am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 5:04pm

Friends, peers, family members and countless fans were in grief after Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Greenwich Village flat with what law-enforcement officials said was a syringe in his arm.

The 46-year-old actor had been expected to pick up his children but failed to show, prompting playwright David Katz and another person to go to his apartment, where they found him dead. Two envelopes containing what was thought to be heroin were near his body, and five empty envelopes were found in the trash, police said.

Tributes quickly poured in from fellow celebrities and actors, with many taking to Twitter to express their sorrow.

“This is a horrible day for those who worked with Philip. He was a giant talent,” said Tom Hanks, who starred with Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War.

“I feel so fortunate to have known and worked with the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman, and am deeply saddened by his passing,” said Julianne Moore, who co-starred with Hoffman in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Big Lebowski.

George Clooney, who appeared alongside Hoffman in The Ides of March, said: “There are no words ... It’s just terrible.”

A person with knowledge of the situation said the actor’s death would not affect the release of two upcoming Hunger Games movies. Hoffman’s work on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 was substantially complete and he had seven remaining days to shoot on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, the person said.

“Words cannot convey the devastating loss we are all feeling right now,” said a statement from the Mockingjay cast and crew, including author Suzanne Collins, director Francis Lawrence, producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, and star Jennifer Lawrence. “Philip was a wonderful person and an exceptional talent, and our hearts are breaking.”

Hoffman’s family called the news “tragic and sudden”.

“We ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers,” the family said in a statement issued by his publicist.

Watch: Investigators and fans gather at Hoffman's apartment in NYC

Onlookers gathered on Sunday afternoon near Hoffman’s apartment in a four-storey red-brick building in a fashionable neighbourhood of the West Village, where many actors keep homes. The entire block was cordoned off by police.

Rachel Melman, a neighbour who described herself as a fan, said she frequently saw Hoffman around the neighbourhood.

“I never spoke to him, but I always wanted to,” she said, adding that she would see him sitting on the building’s scaffolding, “just reading and hanging out out there”. “Of course I’m sad. It was such a shocker,” she said.

Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg, McClatchy Tribune, Reuters