Aaron Sorkin's touching tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

Feb 6, 2014 at 2:37 p.m. ET

Aaron Sorkin's tribute to his friend Philip Seymour Hoffman reveals that the actor thought his death could save lives.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Image courtesy Newspix.pl /WENN.com.

Academy Award-winning writer Aaron Sorkin wrote a touching tribute to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and in it he says the late actor shockingly said dying of a drug overdose wouldn't be a total waste.

Sorkin, a recovering addict himself who wrote the screenplays for two of Hoffman's films, Charlie Wilson's War and Moneyball, revealed that he and Hoffman would often chat about their demons during rehearsal breaks.

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"I told him I felt lucky because I'm squeamish and can't handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish," Sorkin wrote in a piece for Time magazine. "And he said this: 'If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won't.' He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean."

Maybe Hoffman was right. Not only did his death make international headlines, but four people have been arrested for selling the drugs that reportedly led to his death — meaning they can't sell to anyone else now.

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Sorkin continued, "So it's in that spirit that I'd like to say this: Phil Hoffman, this kind, decent, magnificent, thunderous actor, who was never outwardly 'right' for any role but who completely dominated the real estate upon which every one of his characters walked, did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he'd just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine.

"He didn't die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it. He'll have his well-earned legacy — his Willy Loman that belongs on the same shelf with Lee J. Cobb's and Dustin Hoffman's, his Jamie Tyrone, his Truman Capote and his Academy Award. Let's add to that 10 people who were about to die who won't now."

Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment Sunday with a needle in his arm, surrounded by 50 bags of heroin.

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