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Mourners bid farewell to Heath Ledger

PERTH, Australia (AP) — More than 100 mourners gathered with family to bid farewell to actor Heath Ledger at a memorial service Saturday in his Australian hometown.

The star’s former fiancee, actress Michelle Williams, arrived in a cavalcade with his parents, Kim Ledger and Sally Ledger-Bell and sister Kate Ledger at Penrhos College, a Uniting Church girls’ school, after most of the mourners had arrived for the memorial service.

The service will be followed by a private funeral in Perth Saturday for the actor who died of an accidental overdose in his Manhattan apartment last month.

Dozens of mourners passed through tight security to bid farewell to actor Heath Ledger at a memorial service Saturday in his Australian hometown.

Among the first to arrive at Penrhos College was Australian model Gemma Ward, a former girlfriend of the 28-year-old Brokeback Mountain star. Ledger died of an accidental prescription drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment last month.

Wearing dark glasses with a black top and skirt, Ward filed with other mourners through a screened side gate where two women dressed in black checked their identification.

Ledger’s father Kim Ledger said the service will be followed by a private funeral in Perth. He appealed for privacy and did not disclose the time or location.

The funeral will be very, very private and there will only be 10 people there, immediate family and nobody else, Kim Ledger told a press conference outside the house of his former wife, Sally Ledger-Bell, Heath Ledger’s mother.

It’s a pretty sad time. We’re finding it difficult to cope by ourselves, let alone cope with everybody around the world, he said.

Having said that, we do really appreciate the outpouring and the emotional support from all over the globe, he added.

Ledger’s 2-year-old daughter Matilda and his former fiancee, actress Michelle Williams, reportedly arrived in Perth Wednesday from the United States this week.

Ledger’s death on January 22 drew outpourings of grief from New York to Hollywood to Perth, a small and remote city on the verge of the Outback in Australia’s southwest.

Family members returned home from the United States this week to lay Ledger to rest following a memorial service in Los Angeles last weekend.

The Perth-based West Australian newspaper reported Thursday the family was hoping to hold a wake Saturday at a colonial-style waterfront restaurant at Cottesloe Beach, a resort village south of Perth that was a favorite spot of the actor’s.

Williams, 27, and Ledger became a couple during filming of the gay romance Brokeback Mountain, in which the two costarred as husband and wife. Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the film.

They later moved to New York, where Matilda was born in October 2005.
Mourners bid farewell to Heath Ledger – found here.

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February 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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