The depths of his skill as an actor set him apart as one of the finest and most beloved of this generation, and he makes it onto the shortlist of the greatest actors of all time.
This past Sunday, the actor passed away in his Greenwich Village apartment in New York. The cause is an apparent heroin overdose.
Like many of his legendary predecessors, he has died much too young and with so much more to give the world. At 46 years old, and with such a robust and weighty career, there was no sign of Hoffman slowing down in the near future.
But this man was not just an actor. He was a son, a loving father, a friend, and a companion. More important than how many timeless performances he could have given to his audience is how much time he could have spent with his partner and three children. It's how many school plays and graduations and weddings and birthday parties he could have gone to.
When a great figure is struck down, the first reaction is to lament the things they could have given us. We'll never get to see Hoffman in another great Paul Thomas Anderson film, or we'll never get to see him play Willy Loman in an updated film adaptation of Death of a Salesman. How are they going to finish the Hunger Games franchise now that one of the key actors cannot finish the production?
These are all natural reactions from a curious and loyal fan base.
But what about Philip Seymour Hoffman the man? What about his hopes and fears and aspirations?
Hoffman was brought up by a single mother along with three other siblings in a suburb of New York called Fairport. He had a partner of many years, Mimi O'Donnell, and he had a son and two daughters named Cooper, Tallulah and Willa.
He struggled with drug addiction off an on throughout the years, checking into rehab at a certain point and getting clean. But some of his friends and colleagues say the stress and strain of his performances took a toll on him, both physically and mentally, and in the end he went back to the addiction that ultimately took his life.
These are the elements that made Philip Seymour Hoffman the man. Yes, his amazing legacy of brilliant performances are a part of that as well, but before we all collectively cry out for what we are missing out on and what he could have given to us, let's first think of what he is missing out on, what the world could have given to him, and the time that he could have spent with the people he was important to.
Hoffman will be remembered by his friends, family and fans as a powerful force, and a true cinema legend.