Heath Ledger was battling drug addiction and depression in the lead-up to his tragic death.

The acclaimed actor was found naked and unconscious in his $26,000-a-month Manhattan apartment, surrounded by prescription anti-anxiety and sleeping pills. Ledger’s parents Kim and Sally and sister Kate said his death was a terrible accident. “He was a down-to-earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving and unselfish individual who was an inspiration to many,” his father said outside the family home in Perth.

New York police sources said the signs pointed to either an accidental overdose or suicide. The actor, whose final performance will be his highly anticipated role as The Joker in the latest Batman blockbuster, The Dark Knight, due out later this year, was found by his housekeeper.

Ledger reportedly spent several days at a drug rehab clinic battling an addiction to heroin following his split with fiancee Michelle Williams in September. The pair have a two-year-old daughter, Matilda. Sources close to the superstar said he was desperately battling drugs, alcohol and depression. “To tell you the truth . . . we saw it coming,” one friend told a US website. “Things were very dark. His one joy was Matilda. Everything else was misery for him . . . unfortunately he was too late in getting help.”

Ledger was 28.