Reclusive actor Wes Bentley is so saddened by the death of his friend Heath Ledger he has issued a rare statement about the late star, describing him as a "vibrant man" and a "friend forever".
Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment last week (22Jan08). He was 28.
The pair became close pals after working together on the 2002 movie Four Feathers, and the Brokeback Mountain star's sudden passing has moved the incredibly private Bentley to open up about their friendship.
He says, "Heath was an essential piece of my life. At one point we were as close as two people could get without being blood.
"That closeness came from sharing a similar, life-altering experience in life at a young age where very few could relate and those who could often were pre-occupied with competition. It would have been isolating, not to mention boring, without him."
He adds, "He (Ledger) lived in a way that spread so much spark to so many people every day he had. Heath not only lived for himself, if he could've he would lived for all of us as well. That was his way... My prayers are with all who loved him, his family, Michelle (his ex-fiancee), and Matilda (his two-year-old daughter)."
And the 29-year-old American Beauty star credits Ledger for helping him rekindle his love for acting after the release of Four Feathers: "I don't know if I could have come back without him."
The Academy Award nominee will reportedly be laid to rest in his native Perth, Australia on Friday (01Feb08).