Heath Ledger was, in my opinion, the greatest male screen actor under the age of 30. I derive some comfort from the fact his brief time here was well-spent, yet I mourn the movies he will never get to make. We have lost a great actor and a good man.
I, of course, never had the opportunity to meet him personally, but his role in Brokeback Mountain earned him a special place in my heart. There is a sort of indescribable kinship among those of us raised between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, and by his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar, Heath Ledger earned himself an adopted place in that extended family. It is in the spirit of that kinship that I mourn his passing.
My broken heart aches when I think of his daughter, who is just barely two years old; she'll be lucky if she has any memory of him at all. My heart goes out to all his family and loved ones.
My words seem so hollow and inadequate to express my grief. Perhaps it's foolish to feel so deeply for someone I've never even met but only admired from afar, but I truly care about Heath Ledger. Not only that, he's the first person of my own age whom I truly care about who has died, which forces me to contemplate mortality, my own and that of the people I love, in less abstract terms than those to which I am accustomed.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam. Lux aeternam luceat eis, Domine