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NYC official: Hoffman died of toxic mix of drugs

NEW YORK (AP) -- A toxic mix of heroin and other drugs killed Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, New York City officials said Friday.

Hoffman died from a mix of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines, which are psychoactive drugs, said a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner. The death was ruled an accident.

Law enforcement officials have said Hoffman was found Feb. 2 with a needle in his arm, and tests found heroin in samples from at least 50 packets in his Manhattan apartment.

Police had been investigating his death as a suspected drug overdose. An autopsy in February was inconclusive and medical examiners said more tests were needed.

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.

Hoffman, 46, who won an Oscar for "Capote" and starred in numerous other movies as well as New York stage productions, 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.

Investigators have been probing how Hoffman may have obtained the heroin. Tests of the heroin in his apartment have found that it was not cut with a dangerous additive such as fentanyl, a synthetic form of morphine used to intensify the high that has been linked to deaths in other states.

A musician, veteran jazz player Robert Vineberg, has been charged with keeping a heroin stash in a lower Manhattan apartment amid the investigation into Hoffman's death. Vineberg, who has said he was a friend of the Tony Award-nominated Hoffman, hasn't been charged in Hoffman's death and has said he didn't sell him the heroin found in his apartment.

As police followed a tip after Hoffman's death, they said they found about 300 small bags of heroin, worth about $10 apiece on the street, and $1,300 in cash in Vineberg's apartment and music studio.

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Rabbi Moishe February 28 2014 at 4:32 PM

Sad that we lost such a great talent. That he could have been saved makes the loss that much harder to bear. That he had access to any kind of help he needed makes the loss very difficult to understand.

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ukcat1 February 28 2014 at 4:33 PM

We need to find better treatments for these addicts. These people could be your children. The only ones we hear about are the famous.

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divette67 February 28 2014 at 4:23 PM

He will be missed, how sad that drugs are way of life for many people, and ends a usefull life for many.

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jim February 28 2014 at 4:22 PM

And Colo legalized the beginning of sadness for many people, Will we never learn ?

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1 reply
sczctf jim February 28 2014 at 4:29 PM

Alcohol is worse than weed, Jim. Just sayin, my 2 cents only.

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Jim Mulligan February 28 2014 at 4:28 PM

It is very powerfu. Look at Dr. Drew and how his Celebrity Rehab went: In February, country singer Mindy McCready -- who appeared in the 2009 season of "Celebrity Rehab" -- committed suicide after a long battle with substance abuse and other personal problems. King died of accidental drowning, with cocaine and alcohol found in his system, in June 2012. Three other cast members of the reality rehab show also died -- "Taxi" star Jeff Conaway, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and "Real World" cast member Joey Kovar. It's a horrible ratio. Yes we can say their sick or maybe they needed more treatment. Last time I check all the people that died graduated.

Some people went as far as to call it: The 'Celebrity Rehab' Death Trap - The Daily Beast

It's just a terible moster when it gets a hold of you.

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1 reply
rozspozs2 Jim Mulligan February 28 2014 at 4:52 PM

12 steps do work if you work them. Clean and sober 23 years as well, but the work has to be ON GOING. It is a daily surrender to powerlessness, and replacing old thoughts and actions with new ones which will empower you to do anything you choose. Addiction CAN be arrested, ADDICTS DO NOT NEED TO DIE! YES I am shouting!

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acez34 February 28 2014 at 4:33 PM


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sueat103 February 28 2014 at 4:19 PM

I really don't think an autopsy was necessary... pretty obvious conclusion.

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mcris110 February 28 2014 at 4:22 PM

Addiction ruins lives and is deadly. May he rest in peace.

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xembrax February 28 2014 at 4:18 PM

Why do all these Celebrities use thier money on drugs? I mean really.. You have Family, You do not go hungry or have to work at McDonalds, Yet you waste it and your life on drugs just because you can afford it.. Sad..

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mbgsing27 February 28 2014 at 4:17 PM

Stupid!! He was living dangerously..

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1 reply
swest26224 mbgsing27 February 28 2014 at 4:20 PM

He died dangerously too!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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