Philip Seymour Hoffman, Apparent Overdose at 46

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PhillipSeymourHoffmanI was having brunch on Sunday with friends while we watched the snow fall. My cell phone beeped and the story about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s apparent overdose came up on the screen. I mentioned his death to my friends who remembered his name, but not the many roles he played until we listed the movies and thought about the breadth and range of his work. He has had a lifelong struggle with substance abuse and had been sober for 23 years, returning to prescription drug abuse over the last year and a stint in rehab. Hoffman has always been candid about his drug abuse problems, and years ago in an interview revealed that he almost died at 22.

A graduate of New York University, Hoffman got his first break in Scent of Woman with Al Pacino. He’s played Truman Capote, a renegade CIA agent in Charlie Wilson’s War, a cult leader like L. Ron Hubbard in The Master to name a few of the many characters he played. He was such a good actor that I had to look twice to recognize him in some roles. Alec Baldwin referred to him as “the actor’s actor”.

Addiction is a disease which draws no boundaries. It doesn’t stop at rich or poor, famous or ordinary, old or young, man or woman. It is not a disease that someone chooses. Addiction picks its host and moves in. Phllip Seymour Hoffman was no stranger to addiction and the fight to remain sober. He relapsed about a year ago into prescription drug abuse and his death via overdose has been attributed to heroin. According to reports he was found with the needle still in his arm and empty and full bags of heroin around him. In the crackdown on prescription drug abuse, people are turning to heroin. It’s cheap and readily available. There are no prescriptions and it is as close as the local dealer.

Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a disease he could not longer battle. That disease was his addiction. The world has lost a great actor, a family has lost a father and partner and many will experience his absence in their lives.
Click here to read a remembrance of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the New York Times.

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