Autopsy conducted on Hoffman, answers sought on actor's drug use

Mon Feb 3, 2014 6:21pm EST
 
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By Patricia Reaney and Marina Lopes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Authorities were conducting an autopsy on the body of acclaimed stage and film actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, an official said on Monday.

Hoffman, considered by many to be one of the finest actors of his generation, was discovered in the bathroom of his Greenwich Village apartment with a syringe in his arm.

"We're conducting the examination in the cause of the manner of death," said Julia Bolcer, spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner. She added that she was not sure when the results would be available.

One big question in the 46-year-old actor's sudden death: why a talented man at a seemingly good point in his career apparently returned to the drugs that had plagued him in his youth.

New York City police sources familiar with the investigation said 50 small bags of what appeared to be heroin were found in Hoffman's apartment. Authorities found other drugs, including a medication for high blood pressure that is also used for treating opiate withdrawal, the sources said.

Police were trying to determine the source of the substance that apparently killed Hoffman and whether it was a deadly strain of heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate more potent than morphine, sources said.

Erin Mulvey, a spokeswoman for the New York office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), confirmed there has been "a rash of heroin ODs in the Northeast" recently tied to the strain.

The autopsy could explain how Hoffman apparently died soon after injecting what seemed to be heroin. But the why was another matter.   Continued...

 
A photo of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is pictured as part of a makeshift memorial in front of his apartment building in New York February 3, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri