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TV shows will not air Heath Ledger video

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two U.S. celebrity television shows say they will not air a highly publicized video said to show deceased actor Heath Ledger discussing drug use at a wild party in a Los Angeles hotel two years ago.

In a statement released late on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider” said the decision not to air the video was made “out of respect for Heath Ledger’s family.”

The video was rumored to show Ledger talking about drug use at the party in January 2006 at the Chateau Marmont hotel on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. On their Wednesday programs “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider” had promoted plans to air the video on Thursday night.

The footage has become the subject of much speculation in recent days as celebrity Web sites and magazines reported Ledger had drinking and drug problems that led to the end of his relationship with actress Michelle Williams, the mother of his daughter.

The magazines, citing unnamed sources, said Ledger went on drinking binges and used cocaine and other drugs. They said Williams, who co-starred with Ledger in 2005 gay romance “Brokeback Mountain,” left Ledger in 2007 to get their daughter Matilda away.

“Michelle didn’t want their daughter around that,” one source told People magazine.

US Weekly reported that Williams even went so far as to drive Ledger to a rehab clinic outside Los Angeles but he refused to check in.

Ledger, 28, an Oscar nominee for his role in “Brokeback Mountain,” was found dead in his bed at his New York apartment last week with sleeping pills and other prescription medication nearby, police said. An official cause of death has yet to be determined.

His body has been flown home to Australia for a private burial. Details of any memorial service have yet to emerge.

Editing by Jill Serjeant and Bill Trott