Jake Gyllenhaal Reveals How Heath Ledger's Death Has Changed Him

by Jackie Willis 11:43 AM PDT, July 23, 2015
Playing Jake Gyllenhaal Reveals How Heath Ledger's Death Has Changed Him

Jake Gyllenhaal says words cannot express how "incredibly special" Heath Ledger was to him, and the impact his Brokeback Mountain co-star still has on his life.

"I miss him as a human being and I miss working with him," Gyllenhaal told NPR of Ledger, who died in Jan. 2008 at age 29.

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The 10th anniversary of the release of Brokeback Mountain happens later this year, and while Gyllenhaal has worked on numerous films since the Oscar-winning movie, he still seeks the same camaraderie he found on that set.

"I think losing Heath and being a part of a family that was something like the movie, the movie we all made together, makes you see that, makes you appreciate that and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don't matter to the things that do," he said. 

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Gyllenhaal, 34, found that the death of his friend and co-star taught him how to appreciate those around him.

"I'm trying to have relationships that are as real as they possibly can be on a movie set, be close to people because I know that it's precious," the Southpaw star admitted. "And I know, not only can this career end in a very short period of time and this or that can happen, but that life is precious."

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Ledger and his other Brokeback Mountain co-star, Michelle Williams, welcomed a daughter in 2005, and in a recent interview, the late star's sister praised the actress for how she's raising their child. "And her existence, although different from most, is as normal as possible in an abnormal world," Kate Ledger said of Matilda's upbringing.