The normal lifespan of the young, rich, frivolous and famous seems to be 27 or so. At least, the age of 27 is a critical one. Many of the famous do not survive that year. One thinks of Hendrix, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and a host of others who died at 27.

The causes of death have been varied, but drugs have always been involved—drugs and booze and sexual promiscuity in each and every case.

In Heath Ledger’s case as well. Here was a young man who was given about everything God can give—looks, talent, wealth and fame. Ledger frittered it all away.

Like all of his type he had legions of friends so-called. They are all weepy now that he is dead.

Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life,” said Ang Lee, who directed Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain.” “He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined—a thirst for life, for love and for truth, and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him. His death is heartbreaking.”

Ah yes, Mr. Ang Lee is an expert in such things, having presented to the world Heath Ledger performing anal sex on camera and showing in his own latest film violent, graphic, lengthy and gymnastic portrayals of live sex. No doubt Ledger benefitted through his association with creatures such as Lee.

At the Brawta Caribbean Cafe two blocks from the residence, owner Jennifer Ewers said Ledger was a frequent guest who always ordered jerk chicken, rice and beans, and sorrel.

“He was a perfect gentleman. He comes in here with his hoodie on, reads a book, and gives you a peace sign,” she said. “He was always with his daughter, playing hide-and-seek among the plants, or on his skateboard, peeking his head in.”

A 28 year old man who wears a hoodie, gives the peace sign, plays hide and seek and rides a skateboard? Does not such activity describe a teen more than a man?

But then, Hollywood and rock star types have always preferred the adolescent life to that of the responsibilities of adulthood. Always keep in mind that one area of expertise of stars such as Ledger is the creation of bastards—his own daughter, for one.

And all such deny the reality of things as they are. Here is the fantasy.

Lee Daniels, who produced the critically acclaimed “Monster’s Ball,” in which Ledger starred, strongly disputed any notion that Ledger had a drug problem.

“The definition of substance abuse is really up to one’s perspective,” Daniels said. “I didn’t see him as a drug addict. I saw him as someone who enjoyed life. I know drug addicts; he was not a drug addict.”

Here is the reality:

Six different types of prescription drugs were found in Heath Ledger’s apartment—including anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills—though the cause of his death won’t be known for several days after a preliminary autopsy Wednesday came back inconclusive, authorities said.

This is what Daniels calls ‘enjoying life.’ Ledgers’ own take on this cannot be known of course. But more reality intrudes.

Sources told Mail Online that Ledger had been battling substance abuse problems – including an addiction to heroin – for some time.

“He had a stint in rehab last year when he was treated for heroin,” a source told The Daily Mail, adding that Ledger was increasingly introverted at the time of his death.

You may read more of the reality here in an interview Ledger gave two years ago. It is revealing but not pretty. Neither was Ledger’s short life.

And all the most beautiful people are yelping and caterwauling in Gadarene unison about how tragic all of this is, how marvelous Ledger was, and on and on.

Drug abuse, sexual irresponsibility and living life on the edge ended Ledger’s abbreviated life. How many of his ‘friends’ tried to talk him out of such an existence? Probably none of them, for most of the glitterati themselves live as Ledger did, though with greater luck.

Someone once wrote that the wages of sin is death. Heath Ledger has been paid in full.

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(Update: Some years ago I wrote of Heath Ledger here.)