Actor Brad Renfro died as a result of a drug overdose, a Los Angeles coroner has ruled.

The 25-year-old was discovered at his Los Angeles apartment on January 15th, with local police stating at the time that the cause of his death could have been a drug overdose, when his previous substance abuse problems are taken into account.

And the Los Angeles County coroner's office has now confirmed that the actor had died accidentally, as a result of "acute heroin/morphine intoxication".

The former child star had been tipped for the top after an impressive turn in the John Grisham adaptation The Client, with People magazine naming him in its 'Top 30 under 30' list in 1995.

However Renfro's career was plagued by brushes with the law, stemming from a 1997 arrest after which he was sentenced to two years on probation for trying to steal a yacht.

He was charged with cocaine and marijuana possession in 1998, avoiding jail through a plea bargain, while a 2001 arrest for under-age drinking resulted in his enrolment in an alcohol rehabilitation programme.

Renfro had impressed as a young version of the character played by Brad Pitt in the 1996 film Sleepers as well as playing opposite Sir Ian McKellen in the Stephen King adaptation Apt Pupil.

He was charged with driving under the influence and two counts of driving with a suspended licence in 2005 before being arrested for possessing heroin later that year.

The young actor entered a rehab programme in 2006 but was found last year to have violated his probation order for the heroin arrest by not enrolling in a long-term drug treatment programme.

McKellen, Renfro's co-star in Apt Pupil, paid tribute to the late actor, saying: "It is dreadful we shan't see all that he might have achieved."

11/02/2008 12:55:29