Yes, we pay too much attention to celebrities because this is the type of news that sells on media outlets. The general population has an infatuation with celebrities and glorifying people who are in the limelight often deters from the real issues society is facing such as racism, police brutality, political corruption and economic woes.
There's nothing wrong with feeling sad when a beloved entertainer dies, and there's nothing wrong with being curious about them, either. It's only natural to be curious about those whose work we appreciate. It does seem, however, that people pay too much attention to celebrities' personal lives. If a celebrity can't leave his or her house without being ambushed by photographers and tabloids report on every little detail of their lives, it's gone much too far.
Yes, celebrities have become a large part of our lives. Heath Ledger is not really a good example of this because he died young and tragically, something that makes sense for people to mourn. He was someone that many people had grown up watching and it makes sense for people to mourn that.
The idea that celebrity culture has become pervasive and helped to distract everyday citizens is not without its reasonable points. However, in this particular case, a well known actor in the prime of his life suddenly dying would cause a healthy amount of curiosity. This case is very far from a Twitter feud, or other social media nonsense.