In Depth

Philip Seymour Hoffman: stars mourn 'devastating loss'

'It could only have been accidental,' says Ken Stott after actor found dead from suspected overdose

TRIBUTES for Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman have flooded in following his death from a suspected drug overdose. 

Hoffman, who was just 46 years old, is believed to have been battling an addiction to heroin. The actor – famed for his roles in The Master, The Talented Mr Ripleyand Capote – was discovered on the bathroom floor of his New York City apartment yesterday by his friend and playwright David Bar Katz.

Hollywood stars have been paying their respects. Among them was Robert De Niro, who described him as a "wonderful" actor. "This is one of those times where you say: "This just shouldn't be. He was so young and gifted and had so much going, so much to live for," he said.

Tom Hanks, who starred with Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War told E! News: "This is a horrible day for those who worked with Philip. He was a giant talent."

Ken Stott, who also became friends with Hoffman while making Charlie Wilson's War, has said his death “could only have been accidental”. He told Radio 4's Today programme. "I do not believe for one moment that this is something he would have wanted, something that he would have planned, or desired."

Stott, who described drugs as the "urban equivalent of the call of the wild", said Hoffman was "compelling" with a "quiet but friendly attitude" to his work. "Without him I shall be very much sadder, very much lonelier," he said.

Stott added that Hoffman had "adored" his partner Mimi O’Donnell and their three children. However, a New York Police Department source has since told the Daily Mail that they understood Hoffman and his partner to be separated.

The news of Hoffman's death came as the London Critics' Circle Awards ceremony opened last night. Speaking from the red carpet, Steve Coogan praised Hoffman's work. "Everything he was in he raised the quality of... just by his presence," he said. "People have different opinions about actors but you wouldn't find anybody who would have a bad word to say about any of his performances. They were all incredibly nuanced."

John Hurt, who starred opposite Hoffman in Owning Mahowny, said: "It's a devastating loss. His contribution was massive."

A formal tribute was also made to Hoffman during the ceremony, with a standing ovation from the audience.

"This was a performer who was at his very best, a character player who had the lithe sexuality and above-the-title watchability of a star," writes Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian today. "He had a lot more to give. It's desperately sad."

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