Every once in a while – every other decade or so – a genius emerges in whatever field of art he or she practices, be it acting, music, painting, etc. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of them. I remember my first time seeing him, or at least becoming aware of him, as a young teenager. It was in Magnolia, that dark and wonderful film by Paul Thomas Anderson that forced anyone who watched to confront the hardest parts of themselves and come out the other side feeling… new. Hoffman’s role, as a nurse who cared for a man in his final hours, was a highlight, a revelation. He inspired something real and alive.
This morning, Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment by a friend; a drug overdose is suspected. He was only 46 and leaves behind two young daughters and a son, lights in his life who were the impetus behind his decision to check into rehab in 2012 after relapsing into addiction. Unfortunately, it seems as though addiction got the better of him and cut his life tragically short.
His family said in a statement:
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”
Regardless of the personal demons he may have battled, we’d do well to remember Hoffman based on the wonderful talent he possessed and the art he put forth into the world, which will always be with us. Rest in peace, Philip.