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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 09:58 GMT
Public service planned for Ledger
Heath Ledger
Ledger's role in Brokeback Mountain won him an Oscar nomination
A public memorial service for Australian star Heath Ledger will be held next week in Los Angeles, Australia's foreign minister has said.

Stephen Smith added the actor's family would be offered help to return his body to Perth in Australia, where he is expected to be laid to rest.

Ledger's publicist said funeral arrangements "would continue to be kept private at the family's request".

The 28-year-old was found dead in his New York flat on Tuesday.

Mr Smith also told reporters on a visit to the United Nations in New York that he understood that a private family memorial service had taken place in the city.

'Old soul'

He gave no details of the proposed memorial in Los Angeles, and said any tributes in Australia would be determined by Ledger's family.

The actor's body was moved from a funeral home on Friday amid a crowd of reporters and photographers.

A private viewing of Ledger's body had been scheduled at Frank E Campbell funeral home in Manhattan earlier in the day, which was barricaded by police.

Heath Ledger's family
Ledger's family posted the death notice in The West Australian newspaper

In death notices published in The West Australian newspaper, the Brokeback Mountain star's family remembered him as an "old soul".

"You dreamed your dreams and lived them with passion and intelligent commitment," it said.

In a separate tribute, his sister Kate said that the pair were "ultimate soulmates", adding she viewed him as "just my little brother".

"We have been privileged to accompany you on a ride through life that has simply been amazing and through it all we have loved each other beyond imagination. Our hearts are broken," the death notice read.

In an additional tribute, Ledger's father Kim wrote:

"Heatho, Beef, my beautiful boy, so loving, so talented, so independent ... so no more chess games mate ... this is it, couldn't beat you anyway. We were one, in soul and commitment, just father and son."

Production halted

Meanwhile, the makers of Ledger's most recent film have suspended production.

The star had recently completed filming in London on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, directed by Terry Gilliam.

The $30m (15.1m) production had moved to Vancouver, Canada for interior and bluescreen scenes.

The film's makers issued a statement saying: "Terry and the producers will be assessing how best to proceed."

The producers also paid tribute to the 28-year-old, calling him "a great actor, a great friend and a great spirit."

"We are still in a state of deep shock, saddened and numb with grief," the statement continued.

A post mortem carried out on Ledger was inconclusive, with results from further tests expected to take more than a week.

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