PERTH, Australia (AP) — Heath Ledger's family said Friday they were "proud and excited" by his posthumous Academy Award nomination, but that it could not heal the pain caused by his untimely death.
Exactly one year after he died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, Ledger was nominated for best supporting actor for his portrayal of deranged criminal mastermind the Joker in the Batman movie "The Dark Knight."
"To us … it seems like merely yesterday, and we are all still nursing broken hearts," Kate Ledger, the actor's sister, said Friday.
She and Ledger's two other sisters, Ashleigh Bell and Olivia Ledger, read from a prepared statement to reporters Friday at one of the actor's favorite places, picturesque Cottesloe Beach near his hometown of Perth.
The family then held a memorial lunch at a restaurant overlooking the beach.
"Although we would love to have him here with us, we are so proud and so excited on his behalf," Bell said.
"In Heath's words, he had the time of his life portraying the Joker and said that it was the most fun he'd ever had working on a film," Bell said.
Ledger, who was 28 when he died, was nominated along with Josh Brolin for "Milk," Robert Downey Jr. for "Tropic Thunder," Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Doubt" and Michael Shannon for "Revolutionary Road."
Many expect Ledger to win when the awards are handed out Feb. 22. If he does he would become only the second actor to posthumously win an Oscar, following Peter Finch for 1976's "Network."
Bell praised Michelle Williams, Ledger's former fiancee and the mother of his daughter, Matilda, whom she called a blessing.
"What an unbelievable legacy he has left for Matilda and our family," Bell said. "We will take this opportunity today to honor his wonderful life and take comfort in knowing Heath will continue to touch future generations through this amazing art form."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.