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Hoffman mourned

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· Gallery: A short life
· Vale Philip Seymour Hoffman: an electric actor
· Philip Seymour Hoffman: the movies that made the man 

Australian actor Brendan Cowell says he spoke to Philip Seymour Hoffman about his struggle with substance abuse and emailed the Oscar-winning actor when he went into rehab last May.

Cowell says the death of the Truman Capote star in his New York apartment from a suspected drug overdose is “bloody tragic on so many levels”.

Cowell was in the 2010 Sydney Theatre Company production of True West, directed by Seymour Hoffman.

“He had his three kids with him and his wife and he was going for jogs in the morning and loving the beach, he looked like a very happy man,” Cowell told ABC radio.

“I talked to him a bit about substance abuse and he’d given away the drink at 21. Last May he went into rehab and I emailed him then, so clearly it had come back to haunt him.”

Cowell said Seymour Hoffman was an incredibly intense man who approached acting with vigour and intensity.

“I’ve never met anyone who takes acting so seriously,” he said. “He kind of pushed me to a level I’d never been pushed before as a director.”

Russell Crowe described Seymour Hoffman as a gentleman.

“I have just heard about Phillip Seymour Hoffman, one of nature’s gentlemen. Rest in peace. Love and respect,” he tweeted on Monday.

Sam Neil also tweeted that he was “shocked and very sad to hear about the great #PhilipSeymourHoffman”.

Seymour Hoffman, who won a best actor Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in Capote and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and slightly dissipated comic figures, died on Sunday. He was 46.

The actor had suffered an “apparent drug overdose”, the New York Police Department said.