Jake Gyllenhaal says the death of his friend was "like losing a family member". Credit: Getty Images

It's hard to believe that it's been almost six years since the tragic passing of Heath Ledger, but for those close to the star, his death has been hard to accept.

Ledger's close friend and co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal, has opened up in an interview for an episode of 'Inside The Actors Studio' and says he is still dealing with the loss.

"It felt like losing a family member, and it still does to this day," he said.

The 'Prisoners' actor, who is godfather to Heath's daughter Matilda, co-starred with Ledger in the 2005 Oscar-winning 'Brokeback Mountain'

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The friends first met when they both auditioned for Baz Luhrmann’s 'Moulin Rouge'.

"Heath and I knew each other for years before that because we had both auditioned for 'Moulin Rouge' together. And I remember thinking, 'I like this guy. He's just like, super lovable'."

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In interview with James Lipton, Gyllenhaal also spoke of the persistent gay rumours, which have followed him after starring as gay cowboy Jack Twist.

The star says the rumours are a "huge compliment" as it means he played his role well.

Gyllenhaal stars in upcoming crime thriller 'Prisoners', alongside Hugh Jackman and Viola Davis.

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