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Empathy after tragedy. Five years ago, Michelle Williams endured a loss heartbreakingly similar to that of Mimi O'Donnell, the estranged girlfriend of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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The actress, 33, was photographed visiting costume designer O'Donnell, the mother of Hoffman's three children, Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7, and Willa, 5, at her downtown Manhattan home on Feb. 5 following the beloved actor's death. Fellow New Yorker Williams worked closely with Hoffman when the two costarred in the 2008 indie film, "Synecdoche, New York."

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Wearing a cream-colored sweater, black leggings, winter duck hunting boots, and an oversized green utility jacket on Wednesday, Williams looked down from behind her shades as she walked past cameras. The "Blue Valentine" actress can surely relate to O'Donnell's loss: In January 2008, Heath Ledger, Williams' ex-boyfriend with whom she shared daughter Matilda, died of an overdose in an New York apartment, with press and onlookers similarly flocking to his home. (Williams and Ledger started dating on the set of "Brokeback Mountain" and were together for three years.)

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Three years after Ledger's sudden passing, the Oscar nominee revealed how she grappled with the grief that followed: "I experienced a lot of loss after his death," she told The Daily Beast in 2011. "I literally couldn't hold on to anything. It felt as if things were literally slipping through my fingers. Things were just streaming away from me. I lost my sense of humor. I'm still sort of looking for that."

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Like Williams, many celebrities have rushed to support Hoffman's family after Hoffman was found dead at age 46 in his New York apartment with a hypodermic needle in his arm. On Feb. 4, Joaquin Phoenix and Ethan Hawke were photographed visiting the late actor's family; the previous day, Cate Blanchett and Justin Theroux stopped by the Greenwich Village apartment to pay their respects.

The "Capote" Oscar winner star will be honored in a private funeral service in New York City with close friends and family, his rep told Us Weekly in a statement. A separate memorial service is planned for late February.


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