Philip Seymour Hoffman Autopsy Inconclusive, Further Tests Needed

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — An autopsy of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s body is inconclusive, and tests will be needed to determine what caused his death, the city medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Medical examiners’ spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said there was no timetable for the autopsy to be finished. She declined to discuss the pending tests, but toxicology and tissue tests are typically done in such cases.

While awaiting the official findings on the cause and manner of the Academy Award-winning actor’s death, police have been investigating it a suspected drug overdose.

Hoffman, 46, was found dead Sunday with a needle in his arm, and tests found heroin in samples from at least 50 packets in his apartment in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, law enforcement officials have said. Authorities have been testing whether the drug was mixed or tainted with anything else. An official said authorities also found unused syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a drug used to treat heroin addiction, a blood-pressure medication and a muscle relaxant.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about the evidence found.

Hoffman had been frank about struggling with substance abuse. He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2006 that had he used “anything I could get my hands on” before getting clean at age 22. But in interviews last year, he said he’d relapsed, had developed a heroin problem and had gone to rehab for a time.

Hoffman’s relatives said they were devastated by a death both “tragic and sudden.”

Officials have been gathering pieces of the puzzle of what Hoffman was doing in the days and hours before his body was found, in his bathroom, around 11:30 a.m. the next day by his assistant and one of his friends. The friend had spoken to the actor by phone around 9 p.m. Saturday, a law enforcement official said.

His death came amid rising concern around the region about a powerful drug hybrid — mixtures of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic form of morphine — that has been linked to deaths in other states, including 22 deaths within a week last month in western Pennsylvania. But the drug found at Hoffman’s apartment tested negative for fentanyl, a police official said.

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  1. Beverley says:

    Philip Seymour Hoffman was a talented actor who experienced pain in his life. None of us walked in his shoes, none of us have the right to judge. Rest in peace Philip Seymour Hoffman

  2. I stopped here to read the story and find a comment area full of juveniles upset at people’s opinions and then attack them for not knowing them personally. Two way road, folks. That includes those who knew dopes who do dope. If you’ve been around such people, you, too, know you never really know those who need to hide behind booze and drugs. That’s why they do it.

    However you slice it, this guy made some real stupid choices in life. Those choices killed him. Sorry is as sorry does.

  3. lawrencefay says:

    Peter Pan’s comments are juvenile, thoughtless, and naive. Addiction is a proven disease of the brain, like cancer or anything else chronic and potentially terminal as seen here. It does not discriminate. I am a heroin addict and I can, without a doubt, say that it was not my plan fashioned during my formative years. It’s not like I said to myself, when I grow up I wanna get addicted to heroin. There are surgeons, pharmacists, lawyers, even the Vice President’s son that have this disease. One of the most renowned rehab facilities in the country called Hazleden in Minnesota has a special wing for recovering addicts in the same field as health care employees. But, being that I have mostly ended up around 20 something kids with no goals, criminally minded, and simply lost in society and it’s demands/ pressures to be successful, wealthy, happy, etc. in peter’s case, you remind me of a lot of these addicted thugs with issues and I’ll tempered attitudes, except you haven’t resorted to drugs. So, I commend you for that, but damn you for judging others with the clarity of someone with a sober mind. In other words, you are spiteful as is your nature, since you have no excuse. Evenmore, I imagine you will shrug off this declaration and throw me in the same category. So, I’ll see you in hell. Peace fool

  4. M. F. Sibley says:

    Mr. Leafy, you are entitled to whatever opinion you care to express, because as such, it is just that, an opinion. You have not one fact or personal recollection of Mr. Hoffmann to back up any of the references you generated in your opinion piece. None of truly “knew” the inner personality of Mr. Hoffmann and to make personal and foul condemnations and personal besmirchments of his character when he is not here to defend himself smacks of someone takes personal pride in clawing away at what respectability he possessed.

    There are people who haunt comment lists such as this when someone famous passes away, and some seem to take express delight in creating havoc with outrageous and profane comments that are intended to distill anger and apt frustration from others who read said comment. Perhaps the life of the instigator is no “bowl of cherries” and the writer’s frustration is expelled through malicious commentary. While Mr. Hoffmann made some decidedly unwise decisions in his very short life, who are we to call names and withhold sympathy? Are we without emotions? I know I feel sorry for all concerned and wish the clock could be turned back, but life and reality prevail and the decisions of a higher authority have been recognized, all too sadly.

  5. Rick Aneeda says:

    You’re a sick person. You clearly have no knowledge of addiction and how it can consume someone’s entire life. You must live a sad life.

  6. You know that Heath Ledger died because he was suffering from depression, was sleep deprived and miscalculated the dosage of the pills right?

  7. Cory Dorschel says:

    Peter Leahy I grew up in Rochester (Pittsford), and knew Phil personally. While I lived in L.A. a few years ago we got together as often as our schedules allowed and reminisced about our home town (his mother was a well known judge and is a family friend). He had been sober for well over 20 years, his addiction was related to severe bouts of anxiety and depression. He had been under medical care (SSRI’s, but mostly benzo’s as they treated his anxiety more effectively). I hadn’t been in touch with him in over a year, I have no idea what brought his relapse on but my heart breaks. I’m not into the “Hollywood” scene and neither was Phil, in fact he disliked the spotlight but loved the craft. He has always been an extremely down to earth, sweet and caring guy – I know many say such things in these situations but he wasn’t the typical “Hollywood celebrity” who used drugs to get high, unfortunately it was to escape and simply cope.

    Did you know him personally? Did you know his struggles with anxiety and depression? I have “no sympathy” for the callousness from those who believe they have the right to pass judgment on another human beings life and tragic death. I know he would not have wanted the last memory of his life to be found with a needle in his arm.

    Phil will always be the friend from Fairport whose career was his passion, but flew too close to the sun. I lost my Aunt and father last month, and now an old friend. I can’t wait for 2014 to be over. :(

  8. Ravi says:

    Addiction. You know nothing about it. Stay in your black and white judgemental world.

  9. R.l. Procter says:

    Can you explain Heath Ledgers demons as compared to Hoffman’s not having any? You seem to be the expert to see.

    • Liz says:

      Apparently, Peter Leahy lives a righteous, pristine life. He is perfection personified. He knows all. Here’s the thing, Peter Leahy KNOWS NOTHING of what he speaks of. I suspect that Leahy is on a high right now.

    • Peter Leahy says:

      Look at the performances… Ledger wrapper the Joker… and then he went home to kill himself. Hoffman’s performances were suave and cool to the point of slick. He was a lazy actor.

  10. Glenn C. says:

    Maybe a heart attack. Caused by the drug.

    • Ravi says:

      So now you’re actually trying to compare the acting talents of the of Hoffman and Ledger, and you say Hoffman was a lazy actor.
      I think I’m done here.

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