Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

February 9, 2014

Why must excesses overwhelm successes?

ASHLAND — Philip Seymour Hoffman, a gifted actor and a personal favorite of mine, has joined a select group of celebrities.

 He, too, died as the result of apparent drug abuse while at the top of his career at age 46.

 The tragedy was compounded by the fact that the Oscar-winning Hoffman had undergone rehabilitation for drug abuse and remained clean for 20 years.

 He admitted to relapsing in 2012 and said he had been in a drug treatment program.

 However, investigators said they found dozens of packages of what appeared to be heroin in Hoffman’s apartment.

 The official cause of death has not been determined, but they found a needle sticking in his arm.

 The supermarket tabloids and cable TV celebrity shows will be cranking in the coming weeks as they report the “shocking true story” of why or how Hoffman lost his life.

 I hope that somehow his three children will be spared as much of that heartache as possible.  And so the man who brought Truman Capote to life on the screen has followed in the fatal footsteps of Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Chris Farley, Elvis Presley and dozens of other stars of motion pictures, music and other creative arts who tried unsuccessfully to escape their fame.

 Having witnessed the utter devastation of drug abuse firsthand, I remain dumbfounded by the idea of a recovering addict staying clean for two decades and then falling back into the abyss.

 Everyone must know by now that drug abuse makes victims of persons of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.

 Despite his stardom, Philip Seymour Hoffman was no better than anyone else in the throes of addiction.

 As a fan, I naively assumed he and the other dead celebs had more to live for.

KEITH KAPPES is publisher of The Morehead News, Olive Hill Times and Grayson Journal. Reach him at kkappes@cnhi.com

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