Jake Gyllenhaal reveals how Heath Ledger's death has changed him

Jake Gyllenhaal Opens Up About Heath Ledger's Death

Jake Gyllenhaal says words cannot express how "incredibly special" Heath Ledger was to him, and the impact his "Brokeback Mountain" co-star still has on his life.

"I miss him as a human being and I miss working with him," Gyllenhaal told NPR of Ledger, who died in Jan. 2008 at age 29.

WATCH: Michelle Williams Sells Brooklyn Home She Bought With Heath Ledger

The 10th anniversary of the release of Brokeback Mountain happens later this year, and while Gyllenhaal has worked on numerous films since the Oscar-winning movie, he still seeks the same camaraderie he found on that set.

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Jake Gyllenhaal reveals how Heath Ledger's death has changed him
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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Jake Gyllenhaal attends the meet & greet for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of 'Constellations' at the MCC Rehearsal Studios on November 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is seen on November 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by SBN/Star Max/GC Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal arrives at the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 8, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal attends day one of Variety Studio: Actors On Actors presented by Samsung Galaxy on November 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Variety)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Jake Gyllenhaal attends AOL's BUILD Speaker Series: Jake Gyllenhaal Discusses His New Film 'Nightcrawler' at AOL Studios In New York on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Jake Gyllenhaal is seen filming 'Demolition' in Hudson River Park on October 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0151 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Jake Gyllenhaal plays 'Water Wars' with host Jimmy Fallon on October 29, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0151 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Jake Gyllenhaal plays 'Water Wars' with host Jimmy Fallon on October 29, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Jake Gyllenhaal and director Jean-Marc Vallee are seen filming 'Demolition' in Hudson River Park on October 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal attends the 'Nightcrawler' New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on October 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: [EDITOR'S NOTE: Image has been digitally processed] Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie Gyllenhaal attend the 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Jake Gyllenhaal attends Annual Charity Day Hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (L) and director Jean-Marc Vallee attend the HFPA & InStyle's 2014 TIFF celebration at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Windsor Arms Hotel on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 05: Jake Gyllenhaal at the 'Nightcrawler' Press Conference at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel on September 5, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)
Jake Gyllenhaal Promotes 'Brokeback Mountain' At The 62Nd Venice Film Festival. (Photo by Justin Goff\UK Press via Getty Images)
Scarlett Johansson and Jake Gyllenhaal during 2004 MTV Movie Awards - Backstage and Audience at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Ted Danson and Jake Gyllenhaal during Oceana's 2004 Partners Awards Gala - Arrivals at The Escuire House in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by J. Merritt/FilmMagic)
Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal during 'Jarhead' New York City Premiere - Inside Arrivals at Ziegfeld's in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage)
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"I think losing Heath and being a part of a family that was something like the movie, the movie we all made together, makes you see that, makes you appreciate that and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don't matter to the things that do," he said.

WATCH: Kate Hudson's Best On-Screen Kiss Was With Heath Ledger

Gyllenhaal, 34, found that the death of his friend and co-star taught him how to appreciate those around him.

"I'm trying to have relationships that are as real as they possibly can be on a movie set, be close to people because I know that it's precious," the Southpaw star admitted. "And I know, not only can this career end in a very short period of time and this or that can happen, but that life is precious."

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Ledger and his other Brokeback Mountain co-star, Michelle Williams, welcomed a daughter in 2005, and in a recent interview, the late star's sister praised the actress for how she's raising their child. "And her existence, although different from most, is as normal as possible in an abnormal world," Kate Ledger said of Matilda's upbringing.

Heath Ledger's Family Praises Michelle Williams On Raising Daughter Matilda

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