In August 2007, Us Weekly reported that Ledger and Williams ended their relationship because of their busy schedules. Neither Ledger nor Williams confirmed the rumor at that time. In September, 2007, Williams' father, Larry, confirmed to Sydney Daily Telegraph that Ledger and Williams had indeed split.
In early 2008, Heath Ledger was reported to have been seeing model Gemma Ward after media articles linked the two together at end of 2007 holiday celebrations.
Heath Ledger was found dead in his fourth-floor apartment at 421 Broome Street in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City on January 22, 2008. He was found at 3:26 p.m. EST by a housekeeper and a massage therapist, who entered the bedroom to find him face down, naked, and unconscious at the foot of his bed with sleeping pills on a nearby night table. Police said that they also found prescription medication in the bathroom and that there were "no obvious signs" of suicide, nor did they suspect foul play.
On January 23, 2008 Heath Ledger's parents and sister—who learned of his death from a radio broadcast—appeared outside Ledger's mother's house in Applecross, a riverside Perth suburb, and read a short statement to the media:
"We, Heath's family, confirm the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda, who was found in a peaceful sleep in his New York apartment by his housekeeper at 3:30 pm [New York Time]. We would like to thank our friends and everyone around the world for their kind wishes at this time. Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life, but few had the pleasure to truly know him. He was a down-to-earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving and unselfish individual who was an extreme inspiration to many. Please now respect our family's need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately."
In reaction to Heath Ledger's death, former partner Michelle Williams was reported as saying that she was "devastated" at the loss and had boarded a plane to New York City. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd released a statement saying, "It was with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Heath Ledger... It is tragic that we have lost one of our nation's finest actors in the prime of his life."