Bush Cancels Event After Heath Ledger's Death

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WASHINGTON — The death of Heath Ledger prompted the White House to postpone President Bush's event Wednesday promoting an ad campaign aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse.

Ledger, 28, who was nominated for an Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain," was found dead Tuesday in his New York apartment. There were sleeping pills near him, but the cause of his death remains under investigation.

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The president was to make a statement in the Roosevelt Room on the Office of National Drug Control Policy's television advertisement about preventing prescription drug abuse. A federally financed study released in December at the White House showed illicit drug use by teens continued to gradually decline overall this year, but the use of prescription painkillers remained popular among young people.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Bush's event had been scheduled for a while.

"We thought it would be better to postpone the event rather than run the risk of anyone thinking that we were being opportunistic in highlighting the issue," she said.