Heath Ledger's father has expressed his sadness after the actor who received his son's scholarship fund was arrested on suspicion of drug possession. Rising star Ryan Corr, who appears in Russell Crowe's upcoming movie The Water Diviner, is facing a drug possession charge after police officers in Sydney, Australia allegedly caught him smoking heroin.
He was given a huge career boost in 2011 when he was named the recipient of the Heath Ledger Scholarship Award, which is named in honour of the late Australian actor and funded by famous benefactors including the star's former partner Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.
Ledger's father Kim, who is a patron of his son's scholarship fund, has now spoken of his disappointment following news of Corr's arrest.
He says, "It does make me sad to hear that because we have enough problems with alcohol and drugs... I have some empathy for what happens around that situation with families but very little empathy for people that put it in their own mouth. We do what we can to help people but we're not involved in the proactive side of it."
Ledger was just 28 years old when he died from an accidental prescription drug overdose in 2008. Previous winners of the scholarship include Dark Shadows star Bella Heathcote and James Mackay.
The $10,000 (£7,000) fund, set up by Ledger's ex-fiancee Michelle Williams and friends following his death in 2008, was given to Heathcote at the sixth annual Australians in Film Breakthrough Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday night (13May10).
She was hand-picked from a pool of applicants by The Dark Knight star's pals and colleagues, including Colin Farrell, who presented the honour.
Ledger's sister Kate and his mother, Sally Bell, were on hand to witness the prizegiving, and admit they are touched his memory can help others realise their dreams of acting.
Kate tells People.com, "It is very special. It's honouring our boy so we couldn't be prouder and we think it is an amazing scholarship that is going to give so many opportunities."
His mother added, "He had a huge passion for acting. That was the most important thing for him. It wasn't about the money. He had such a passion that just showed through regardless of how big the role was."
The inaugural scholarship, which includes flights to Los Angeles and introductions to agents and casting directors, was awarded last year (09) to Australian performer Oliver Ackland.
Ledger died from an accidental overdose in January 2008.