Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies of Drug Overdose

Sometimes, even years of successful sobriety and multiple stints in treatment isn’t enough to prevent an addiction relapse. In the case of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, a 23 year-long streak of drug-free living was broken in 2012 — and despite treatment, this relapse ended in his death by drug overdose on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: a History of Drug Use

Early Addiction

Hoffman first disclosed his drug and alcohol addiction in a 2006 interview, stating that the addiction began in his teenage years and spanned “anything I could get my hands on.” He received treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at age 22, and achieved sobriety for 23 years after this initial round of rehab.

2013 Relapse

After achieving critical success on the silver screen as well as the stage, Hoffman eventually relapsed in 2012, reportedly using heroin and prescription medications to get high. Concerned for his health, Hoffman voluntarily checked into a drug rehab facility in May 2013. His treatment lasted ten days.

Death: February 2, 2014

Tragically, Hoffman’s struggle with addiction ended on February 2, 2014, when the father of 3 was discovered dead in his New York City apartment with a needle (presumably used to inject heroin) in his arm. Upon further investigation, law enforcement found a high volume of heroin and prescription drugs in Hoffman’s possession. On Tuesday, February 4, four people were arrested in connection with Hoffman’s death. They are believed to have sold Hoffman the drugs that lead to his fatal overdose.

Though the medical examiner has yet to give an official cause of death, all signs point to heroin overdose.


Hoffman’s sudden death triggered a number of reactions among celebrities and ordinary people on social media. Many called his passing tragic, lamenting the loss of a great talent. Others expressed disgust or anger that he would bring on his own death through drug use. Still more remarked that addiction is widely misunderstood and deserves recognition as a chronic treatment.

In any case, Hoffman’s talents will surely be missed in Hollywood.

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