Aaron Sorkin’s Touching Tribute: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Saved 10 Lives

Aaron Sorkin and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Aaron Sorkin penned an emotional tribute to his friend, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Matt Carr/Getty Images

In the days since late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's tragic death at age 46 from an apparent drug overdose, statements and tributes have been pouring in from his family, friends, and colleagues. And on Feb. 5, renowned screenplay writer and creator of The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin, penned an emotional essay in Time Magazine as a tribute to his late friend. 

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The two noted film industry icons met on the set of 2007's Charlie Wilson's War and formed a close bond over being both fathers and drug addicts. Sorkin, 52, has admitted a dependance on cocaine, and publicly relapsed in 2001, though he is now clean and sober. 

In the essay, Sorkin revealed that he would swap stories with Hoffman while filming Charlie Wilson's War

"It's not unusual to have these mini-AA meetings — people like us are the only ones to whom tales of insanity don't sound insane," Sorkin wrote. "I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish."

Sorkin also revealed that Hoffman thought his death would produce some good in the world, writing, "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."

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But despite Hoffman's use of the word "overdose," the famed writer thinks it's important to note the late actor's true cause of death. 

"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," Sorkin wrote. "We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine."

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"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," Sorkin concluded. "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."

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