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Philip Seymour Hoffman died of accidental overdose: official

The casket is carried following the funeral for actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the Manhattan borough of New York, February 7, 2014. REUTER
The casket is carried following the funeral for actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the Manhattan borough of New York, February 7, 2014. REUTER

By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found in his New York apartment on February 2 with a needle in his arm, died of an accidental overdose of drugs, the New York City Chief Medical Examiner said on Friday.

The cause of death was acute drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, according to Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office.

She added that it is the final determination in Hoffman's death. Only the cause and manner of death will be released to the public.

A drug overdose had been suspected when Hoffman, 46, was discovered in his apartment along with dozens of small plastic bags containing a substance believed to be heroin. The confirmation puts the actor, regarded as one of the best of his generation, on a growing list of entertainers who succumbed to drugs.

"Glee" actor Cory Monteith, 31, died in Vancouver of an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol in October. Drugs were also the cause of death of Australian actor Heath Ledger in 2008 and singer Whitney Houston in 2012.

Overdoses from legal or illegal drugs also have claimed the lives of entertainers including Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Hoffman is survived by his long-time partner, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three young children, Cooper, Tallulah and Willa.

The actor's tragic death coincides with an increase in U.S. heroin use, which government officials say has reached epidemic proportions in the past five years. Fatal heroin overdoses have risen 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Hoffman, a best actor Oscar winner for his role in the 2005 biographical film "Capote," won accolades for his versatility and mesmerizing performances on the stage and screen.

From his Tony-nominated role as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Death of a Salesman" to complex characters in such films as "Happiness," in which he played an obscene phone caller, and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," Hoffman transfixed audiences with his talent.

He also earned Tony award nominations for "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "True West."

His screen roles included "The Master," "Doubt" and "Charlie Wilson's War," for which he won best supporting actor Oscar nominations, and appearances in blockbusters such as "The Hunger Games" series.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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