Actor Heath Ledger was confirmed dead on Tuesday by authorities in what is said to be a possible drug-related death, according to the New York Police Department.

A police spokesman said Ledger had an appointment for a massage at a Manhattan apartment that is believed to be his home. The housekeeper let the masseuse in and then went to knock on Ledger's room to inform him of her arrival. When there was no response, the housekeeper entered the room, finding Ledger lying unconscious on the bed at 3:26 p.m.

Police said that drugs were found on scene and may be the cause of his death. The actor was 28 years old.

Shortly after, a large crowd of paparazzi and fans began gathering outside the building, where several police officers stood guarding the door. The building is located in the upscale part of SoHo, Manhattan.

The Australian-born actor was nominated for an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, in 2005, where he met his ex-wife , actress Michelle Williams. Ledger and Williams had lived in Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, but the couple split up last year.

Ledger's latest work was The Dark Night, a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins that recently finished filming in which he stars as the Joker.

He was born in 1979 and grew up in Perth where he began amateur theater at the age of 10. When he turned 16, he moved to Sydney to pursue an acting career where he landed TV movie roles and guest spots on Australian television shows.

Mr. Ledger's roles include the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in Monster's Ball and had lead roles in A Knight's Tale, 10 Things I Hate About You and The Patriot.