Friends, Family Attend Heath Ledger Funeral In Australia

Heath Ledger's family joined celebrities and other mourners Saturday to bid farewell to the actor at a memorial service in his Australian hometown.

Ledger's fiancee, actress Michelle Williams, arrived along with his parents and sister at Penrhos College, where about 100 other mourners had gather to honor the 28-year-old "Brokeback Mountain" star who died of an accidental prescription drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment last month.

Williams, wearing dark glasses and a white dress with black trim, was not accompanied by Matilda, her 2-year-old daughter with Ledger.

Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who starred with Ledger in the Bob Dylan bio-flick, "I'm Not There," a role that earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, was among the
celebrities present.

Ledger's father Kim said the service will be followed by a private funeral in Perth. He appealed for privacy and did not disclose the time or location.

"The funeral will be very, very private and there will only be 10 people there, immediate family and nobody else," Kim Ledger told reporters earlier in the day.

"It's a pretty sad time. We're finding it difficult to cope by ourselves, let alone cope with everybody around the world," he said.

"Having said that, we do really appreciate the outpouring and the emotional support from all over the globe," he added.

Mourners at the high-security service filed through a screened side gate where two women dressed in black checked their identification.

Among the first to arrive at Penrhos College was Australian model Gemma Ward, a former girlfriend of the 28-year-old "Brokeback Mountain" star. Wearing dark glasses with a black top
and skirt, Ward filed with other mourners through a screened side gate where two women dressed in black checked their identification.

Ledger's death on Jan. 22 drew outpourings of grief from New York to Hollywood to Perth, a small and remote city on the verge of the Outback in Australia's southwest.

Family members returned home from the United States this week to lay Ledger to rest following a memorial service in Los Angeles last weekend.

Williams, 27, and Ledger became a couple during filming of "Brokeback Mountain," in which the two costarred as husband and wife. Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the film.

They later moved to New York, where Matilda was born in October 2005.

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