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February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in NYC apartment

NEW YORK (AP) — Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and somewhat dissipated, was found dead Sunday in his apartment with what officials said was a needle in his arm. He was 46.

Two law enforcement officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the evidence, said the actor apparently died of a drug overdose. Glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were found with him, they said.

Hoffman — no matinee idol, with his lumpy build and limp blond hair — made his career mostly as a character actor, and was one of the most prolific in the business, plying his craft with a rumpled naturalism that also made him one of the most admired performers of his generation.

The stage-trained actor was nominated for Academy Awards four times in all: for “Capote,” ‘‘The Master,” ‘‘Doubt” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.” He also received three Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, which included an acclaimed turn as the weary and defeated Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.”

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab.

Tributes poured in from other Hollywood figures.

“One of the greatest actors of a generation and a sweet, funny & humble man,” actor Ricky Gervais tweeted. Director Spike Lee said on Twitter: “Damn, We Lost Another Great Artist.”

And Kevin Costner said in an AP interview: “Philip was a very important actor and really takes his place among the real great actors. It’s a shame. Who knows what he would have been able to do? But we’re left with the legacy of the work he’s done and it all speaks for itself.”

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