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PERTH, Australia (AFP) -
Heath Ledger's infant daughter will not be shut out of her famous father's fortune, the late film star's father pledged Monday, as a bitter family row erupted over the actor's will.
Kim Ledger, the father of the "Brokeback Mountain" star who died in January aged 28 from a lethal mixture of prescription drugs, dismissed claims by family members that two-year-old Matilda and her mother, actress Michelle Williams, would not get a slice of Ledger's estate.
"Matilda is our absolute priority, and Michelle is an integral part of our family," Kim Ledger said in a statement received in Sydney.
"They will be taken care of and that's how Heath would want it to be," he said after his estranged brothers reportedly claimed Ledger had left his entire fortune to his parents and sisters in a will written before Matilda's birth.
News Ltd newspapers reported that two of the actor's uncles turned on Ledger's father following reports that no provision had been made for Matilda and Williams in Ledger's will.
The actor's uncles claimed that mother and daughter may have to fight for a slice of his wealth.
"I'm concerned for Matilda. I have concerns about the distribution of funds," Kim's brother Hadyn Ledger told News Ltd, adding that they had raised their fears with Michelle Williams's father, Larry.
"We spoke to Larry about Kim and his ability to manage Matilda's assets," Mike Ledger said.
Kim Ledger, who was in Los Angeles, however called on his siblings not to air the family's dirty laundry in public.
"It is sad at this extremely difficult time in our lives, while we are grieving the loss of our beloved son that estranged family members publicly discuss matters they have not been privy to in the past or now," he said.
"We hope for Matilda's sake they will remain dignified," he added in a statement issued by family spokeswoman Adene Cassidy.
Ledger, who gained international stardom with his Oscar-nominated performance as a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain" died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in New York on January 22.