There are no words.
Literally. No words.
So, it's now three hours since I heard the news and it's still incredibly shocking. How did this happen? How is one of the finest actors of his generation - a man who gave the finest male performance of this decade so far, imho, in Brokeback Mountain - gone? Forever. It's something that is just so unfathomable. Such a popular, beautiful young man. It's interesting to think of how Ledger will be spoken of in ten, twenty, fifty years time. Just think of James Dean and River Pheonix!
Yahoo has a list of tributes from Australian identities:
Australian actress Nicole Kidman has expressed shock at Ledger's death.
"What a tragedy," Kidman said in a statement to celebrity news show Extra.
"My heart goes out to his family."
Hollywood actor John Travolta, in Australia to attend a benefit dinner, has described Ledger as "one of my favourite actors."
"His abilities are rare ... it's a tremendous loss," Travolta told Extra.
"It's hard to be here celebrating Australia under these circumstances."
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a statement that it was with great sadness he learnt of Ledger's death.
"It is tragic that we have lost one of our nation's finest actors in the prime of his life," Mr Rudd said.
"Heath Ledger's diverse and challenging roles will be remembered as some of the great performances by an Australian actor.
Margaret Pomeranz from ABC TV's At The Movies says she is devastated by the news.
"I am so upset ... he's such a talented boy and really I think a beautiful soul," she said.
"I think to choose the roles he's chosen showed just such intelligence."
Pomeranz's co-star and fellow critic David Stratton says Ledger will be missed by the film industry.
"It is extremely sad, because he was so young - only 28 years old - and still so promising, yet he'd done some extraordinary things," he said.
And from the Herald Sun, this part was particularly sad:
Former flame Naomi Watts broke down in tears at the Sundance Film Festival.
Watts, who dated Ledger for two years, could not contain her emotions in at the festival in Utah, immediately crying upon hearing the news.
And it makes you wonder how there are actually people out there who are so devoid of emotion. There are several sites I've been to today where I just had to x out because there were actually people saying things like "he wasn't that good an actor, he won't be missed". Just terrible.