Cate Blanchett Speaks Out for First Time About the Tragic Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Like the rest of the Hollywood community, Cate Blanchett has been mourning the tragic loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman since he died of an apparent heroin overdose Feb. 2.

A constant fixture at his family’s NYC apartment, as well as his wake and funeral Feb. 7, Blanchett canceled her public appearances in the days after his death and has kept silent about her grief until now.

The Blue Jasmine star, who won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress Feb. 16, took the opportunity on stage to remember the man who so greatly influenced her career.

“I would like to dedicate this to an actor who has been a continual, profound touchstone for me, a monumental presence who is now so sadly in absence: the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman,” she said in London of her co-star in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.

“Phil, your monumental talent, your unflinching quest for truth both in art and in life will be missed by so many people,” she added. “You raised the bar continually. Phil, buddy, this is for you, you bastard. Hope you’re proud.”

“I don’t think I’m alone in the room having been profoundly influenced by Phil and his body of work, but also who by he was as a person,” Blanchett later told reporters backstage after her big win. “He was the most extraordinary friend to so many people.

“His influence, I think…I mean, time will tell just how deep it was. If I could be half the actor he was in his unfortunately short life, I’ll be very happy,” she continued, clutching her award which follows her other wins this year, including a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild statue, and Broadcast Film Critics Association honor for the Woody Allen-directed film.

In the weeks after his passing, the results of Hoffman’s autopsy have been “inconclusive,” but four arrests were made of heroin dealers who could have sold him the lethal drug. One of the men, musician Robert Vineberg, has been linked to other celebs who have overdosed, including Amy Winehouse and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.