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T-shirt evokes late actor Heath Ledger as laidback skateboarder

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Five years after the death of renowned Australian actor Heath Ledger, friends and family have joined to pay tribute to the man known to the world as the evil Joker with a t-shirt honoring him as a laidback skateboarder with a touch of the daredevil.

Ledger died at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose in January, 2008. He was subsequently awarded a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker in the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight".

The t-shirt features a photograph of a faintly smiling Ledger posing with a skateboard by the Los Angeles River. It was taken in 2004, the year he was filming the hit "Brokeback Mountain."

"Heath loved skateboarding and wanted to do a shoot he enjoyed", said Ben Watts, the older brother of actress Naomi Watts and a New York-based photographer.

"(It was) a really enjoyable day and definitely one to remember. At one stage we were towing him with a car going like 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) through the L.A. river, it was amazing", Watts told Reuters by email.

The t-shirt, which is being sold for charity, was a collaboration between Watts and Ledger's designer sister Elana Rosa to commemorate the star's well-known love of T-shirts.

"He actually had his own shirt line so I am sure he would be psyched to have a pic of him on a great day skateboarding, remembering who he was," Watts added.

Proceeds from sales of the shirt, which goes for A$105 ($110), will benefit Heath Ledger's favorite charities, including a scholarship fund in his name. ($1 = 0.9580 Australian dollars)

(Reporting By Thuy Ong, editing by Elaine Lies)

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