Ledger memorials planned for New York, Los Angeles

Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:26pm EST
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By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The family of Heath Ledger was due to hold a private memorial in New York on Friday to mourn the 28-year-old Australian actor who died under mysterious circumstances on Tuesday, Australia's foreign minister said.

A public remembrance has also been proposed for Los Angeles in the coming days, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters in New York where he was visiting the United Nations.

"I understand there's a private memorial service today for family members. I also understand it's proposed there will be a public memorial service in Los Angeles later this week," Smith said, adding that Australian consular officials have offered to help the family repatriate the body.

He provided no details of a Los Angeles memorial, and said any tributes in Australia would be up to the family.

"Certainly in Australia, in my own home town of Perth (where Ledger was from), there's been public expressions of grief and sadness at the passing of Heath," Smith said.

Ledger's father Kim was expected to claim the body on Friday, the New York Daily News said, citing a funeral director.

"He wants to be with his son," Dominic Carella, director of New York City's Frank E. Campbell funeral home where Ledger's body was taken, told the Daily News.

'OLD SOUL'   Continued...

<p>(L-R) Libby Hobday, 28, of Melbourne, Australia, and Christina Jeffs, 22, of Los Angeles, California, tape an Australian flag above a makeshift memorial in front of the building where actor Heath Ledger died in New York January 23, 2008. REUTERS/Nicholas Roberts</p>