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Philip Seymour Hoffman: The death of a complicated man

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Mark Mainz

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead the morning of Feb. 2.

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Shock and sadness are the prevalent emotions for the friends, family, and fans of Oscar Winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman after he was found dead the morning of Feb. 2. His death is now being called an apparent overdose at an apartment he rented in Greenwich Village. 

The prolific actor could often be seen riding his bike around town, taking his kids to school, and stopping in at his local favorites for coffee or dinner. Ordering a four-shot espresso and chit chatting with others, the day before his death, the life of “Phil” seemed completely ordinary.  Cut to Sunday and the story is a much more tragic one. 

The story of Hoffman’s last few hours alive seems to be the most important task for investigators as they try to piece together the final events of the actor’s life. After a normal day around town filled with business meetings and coffee-shop trips, Hoffman went out to dinner with two associates that Saturday night for what seemed to be an official business get-together. By 9 p.m. witnesses across multiple locations record seeing Hoffman making several account withdrawals, totaling $1,200. After failing to pick up his children the next morning, the children’s mother grew concerned and asked one of Hoffman’s friends, playwright David Katz, to investigate. 

Katz and another friend were unfortunate enough to find Hoffman on his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm. Investigators also discovered close to 50 envelopes containing what they believed to be heroin. Empty bottles of prescriptions drugs were also found at his residence. 

Seeing a famous figure such as Phil succumb to the woes and trials of drug abuse should come as a warning to many others. Looking at the last few days of the actor’s life, it was the stereo-typical last days of an addict’s life. With intermittent periods of normalcy marked with episodes of erratic behavior, friends of the actor reported saying that there seemed to be something amiss with him. After returning home from filming scenes for the upcoming “Hunger Games” release, the actor was seen throughout Greenwich Village going through his normal, everyday routines. 

The news of the actor’s death should also hold deeper warning for those who have suffered from drug abuse in their own lives. Philip Seymour Hoffman sobered himself up at the age of 22 after graduating college and remained sober over the course of 23 years. A sober Hoffman made quite the career for himself, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe as well as numerous nominations. Movies such as “Capote” are considered by many to be one of the greatest examples of acting ever. After all of that time sober, you would think it was all smooth sailing. Sadly this is never the case with addiction. In 2012, the actor was reported using prescription pain pills again and later checked himself into rehab for heroin use. Now, at 46, an actor of his generation finds himself beaten by the chemical relief that he so desired. 

While it is probably never going to be discovered what drove Hoffman back to drugs, the events are sad nonetheless. After testing the substances found at Hoffman’s residence, police did confirm that it was in fact heroin. Authorities were then able to make some surprising arrests late on the night of Jan. 4 of four people believed to be connected to the drugs found in the actor’s apartment. While the heroin was not the same “brand” as that found in Hoffman’s apartment, one of the men did have the actor’s number stored in his phone and was in contact with him.  

News of the actor’s death shocked the nation as fans broke down in tears and friends seemed stunned by the passing. Seeming to many as just an average New-Yorker, Philip Seymour Hoffman should be remembered for the amazing career and roles he put behind him, not his sad and untimely end.

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Mark Mainz

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead the morning of Feb. 2.

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