Actor found with syringe in his arm
Oscar-winning US actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died from an "apparent drug overdose" in his New York City apartment, an NYPD spokesman said.
The 46-year-old was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment at 11.30am local time (4.30pm GMT) today.
Awarded a best actor actor Oscar for his role in the 2005 film Capote, Seymour Hoffman checked into rehab in May for heroin use .
"He was found dead in his bathroom of an apparent drug overdose," an NYPD spokesman said.
Police were called to 35 Bethune Street in the West Village area of Manhattan by a friend of the actor, the spokesman said.
Seymour Hoffman was discovered with a syringe in his arm and "there was heroin found at the scene", the police official added.
The Office of Chief Medical Examiner will investigate the exact cause of death.
Seymour Hoffman had admitted struggling with drug addiction in the past but had reportedly been clean for 23 years before a relapse last year.
"I went to rehab, I got sober when I was 22-years-old," he said in a 2006 interview. "You get panicked... and I got panicked for my life."
Seymour Hoffman's family said in a statement: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone.
"This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers."
Photographers, television news crews and hundreds of members of the public gathered outside the actor's apartment.
Tributes quickly poured in for Seymour Hoffman, who was working on the last instalment of the dystopian adventure franchise The Hunger Games, in which he played the role of head game maker Plutarch Heavensbee.
John Hurt, who starred with Seymour Hoffman in 2003 film Owning Mahowny, said: "It's a devastating loss. His contribution was massive."
12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen commented: "I'm a huge admirer. How sad and tragic. I feel for his family."
The news of Seymour Hoffman's death came after claims that his representatives had denied a death hoax spread earlier in the week.
Born in Fairport, New York, in 1967, Seymour Hoffman got his first acting role in a 1991 episode of long-running police show Law and Order.
He went on to play memorable characters in films such as The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights and Magnolia and also had a distinguished career in the theatre.
The actor leaves behind his long-standing partner and costume designer Mimi O'Donnell and their two daughters and son.