Kim Legder lost his Oscar-award winning son, Heath Ledger, to an accidental overdose of prescription medication, at a point in the young actor’s life when it looked as if he had so much to live for, so much ahead of him.
Heath, who died in 2008, was just 28-years-old. But his dad, Kim, has only recently begun speaking to the media about the tragedy of losing his son to a fatal combination of prescription medication.
In a candid interview with the Daily Mail Australia, Kim acknowledged Heath’s death was his own fault.
“It was no one else’s. He reached for them. He put them into his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation. That’s hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him.”
But, he also noted, the top actor’s need to access opiate-based prescription medication was a way for his son to cope with the relentless demands of the acting industry.
“I came to the understanding that, what happened to our child, was part of a massive picture. I felt, and continue to feel strongly, that something absolutely positive needs to come out of this”, he told the New Zealand Herald
Kim is the patron of Australian group, ScriptWise, which works across communities to raise awareness of prescription medicine misuse. He’ll be speaking at the Cutting Edge Addictions Conference in Rotorua next month.
Kim told the New Zealand Herald his message to the conference will be: “What can start off as a simple prescription can result in medication misuse, and people tend to get on a treadmill that they struggle to get off”.
“I want to share my experience to arm other individuals and families with valuable information and knowledge in preventing any misuse of these medications."