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LONGTIME FRIEND, AIDE TO CLINTON FOUND DEAD

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A White House attorney who was President Clinton's friend for more than 40 years was found dead in a park overlooking the Potomac River from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Vincent Foster Jr., 48, the father of three, was the No. 2 attorney in the White House counsel's office. His body was found Tuesday night in a Virginia suburb of Washington at Fort Marcy, a Civil War-era fort preserved as a park.Park Service investigators said the death was an apparent suicide.

Stunned White House officials said they were unaware of anything that would have caused Foster to take his own life.

A native of the president's hometown of Hope, Ark., Foster was a former law partner with Hillary Rodham Clinton in a Little Rock firm.

The president went to Foster's home Tuesday night to visit with his widow, Lisa, and children. Clinton's wife and daughter, Chelsea, were in Little Rock at the time. Clinton canceled a morning trip to meet with small-business leaders in suburban Maryland, sending Vice President Al Gore in his stead.