“There was no indication of a disturbance,” he said, adding that there were no signs that Mr. Ledger had been drinking. Nor were any illegal drugs found in the loft, which takes up the entire fourth floor. Neighbors said Mr. Ledger had occupied it for several months.
Police officials said that a bottle of prescription sleeping pills was found on a nearby night table, but that they did not know whether the pills had anything to do with Mr. Ledger’s death. Officers who checked the apartment found other prescription medications in the bathroom. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be conducted on Wednesday.
Mr. Browne said no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.
The police said Mr. Ledger’s body was found after a masseuse arrived at the apartment at 2:45 p.m. for her regular appointment with Mr. Ledger. A housekeeper let her in and knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. No one answered.
The housekeeper and the masseuse pushed open the bedroom door and saw Mr. Ledger, unconscious, on the floor. They shook him but could not revive him, and then called for help, the police said. The housekeeper told officers that she had heard him snoring in the bedroom around 12:30 p.m., the police said.
Neighbors said Mr. Ledger was friendly. Julie McIntosh, a hairstylist at a salon a few doors down the block from the apartment, said she saw him on the street once or twice a week. She said she had seen him with his 2-year-old daughter a couple of times.
“He seemed happy,” she said, recalling how she had run into him outside the salon last month and joked, “When are you going to come in and let me wash your hair?”
Others in the crowd said their first reaction to word of his death was disbelief. Nicole Vaughan, 24, a law student at New York University
More recently, Mr. Ledger had made the rounds in Manhattan.
A cocktail waitress at a downtown hotel bar that regularly draws celebrities said he showed up one night last week with some friends, ordered bottled water, as he always did, and stayed for an hour or two. “He looked fit,” said the waitress, who would give her name only as Renee for fear of jeopardizing her job. “He looked healthy.”
The Associated Press reported that his father, Kim Ledger, called his death “tragic, untimely and accidental.” An uncle, Neil Bell, said the family was taken by surprise. “He was in good spirits and having a wonderful time on this Terry Gilliam
Mr. Bell, whom Mr. Ledger once cited as the inspiration for his character in “Brokeback Mountain,” added: “They were all flying to Vancouver for a shoot on this movie. Heath flew into New York to go home for a bit.”
Mr. Ledger’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said that she was too upset to talk about Mr. Ledger’s death.