NEW YORK — He was only 46, busy as ever and secure in his standing as one of the world's greatest actors.
There were no dissenters about the gifts and achievements of Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose death Sunday in New York brought a stunning halt to his extraordinary and unpredictable career.
An Oscar winner and multiple nominee, Hoffman could take on any character with almost unnerving authority, whether the religious leader in command of his every word in "The Master," a trembling mess in "Boogie Nights," or the witty, theatrical Truman Capote in "Capote."
Fearless in his choices, encyclopedic in his preparation, he was a Shakespearean performer in modern dress, bringing depth and variety to charlatans, slackers, curmudgeons and loners.
"Hearing that Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away came as much as a shock to me as to anyone else I'd imagine," says Anton Corbijn, director of "A Most Wanted Man," one of two films (the other being "In God's Pocket") starring Hoffman that premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival.
He was not only the most gifted actor I ever worked with," Corbijn added, "...he had also become an incredibly inspiring and supportive friend."
Friends, peers, family members and his countless fans were in grief after Hoffman was found in his Greenwich Village apartment with what law enforcement officials said was a syringe in his arm.
The two officials told The Associated Press that glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were also found with Hoffman. Those items are being tested.
The law enforcement officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about evidence found at the scene, said the cause of death was believed to be a drug overdose.