Anna Nicole Smith Dead At 39

Actress, spokesperson and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith died Thursday, February 8, at the age of 39.

Anna Nicole was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, shortly after 2PM EST after collapsing and being found unresponsive in her room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, as Access Hollywood and NBC affiliate WTVJ in Miami were first to report.

(the photo above left, is the final known photo taken of Anna Nicole, pictured with Howard K. Stern, prior to her death — together in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, FL)

According to an Access Hollywood source, it appears that Anna Nicolechoked on her own vomit.

The source claims that Smith took what was referred to as a “children’s sedative,” and had “kept passing out” before her death.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Dr. Joshua Perper, who performed the autopsy, said that there is no cause of determination yet for Anna Nicole’s death. He added, however, that definitive results could take 3 to 5 weeks --that the death could have beenfrom natural causes, tied to a medical cause or chemical, or that it could be a combination of the two factors.

Dr. Perper also said that he did not find evidence of large amounts of pills in Anna Nicole’s stomach.

At the same press conference Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said that there was no evidence of foul play, and that no illegal drugs were found in Anna Nicole’s room at the hotel. Only prescription drugs were found, and he would not release the name or names on the prescriptions.

A private nurse called 911 after finding Smith unresponsive in her sixth-floor room, said Tiger. He said Smith’s bodyguard administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation about an hour before she was declared dead. Tiger said Anna Nicole came to the hospital dead on arrival.

Anna Nicole was reportedly treated with Narcan on the scene. Narcan is a substance generally adminstered to remove narcotics from a person’s system.

The mother of Anna Nicole blamed drugs Friday for her daughter’s sudden death.

“I think she had too many drugs, just like Danny (Smith’s late son),” her mother, Vergie Arthur, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday. “I tried to warn her about drugs and the people that she hung around with. She didn’t listen.”

“She was too drugged up,” Arthur said. “By the last interview I saw of her, she was so wasted.”

Access Hollywood has learned that Anna Nicole?s mother and her mother?s husband are heading to the Bahamas today to file with children?s services for immediate custody of Dannielynn, Anna Nicole’s 5-month-old daughter.

The baby was being cared for in the Bahamas by the mother of Shane Gibson, the Bahamian immigration minister who is a close friend of Smith’s, People magazine reported on its Web site, citing unidentified sources. A visibly shaken Gibson declined comment as he was leaving his office Thursday night, and he has not responded to messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Photo: The house of Shane Gibson in the Bahamas (AP)

Late Thursday, sheriff’s deputies carried out at least eight brown paper bags sealed with red evidence tape from Smith’s hotel room. Several detectives are reviewing the hotel surveillance tapes to see if they might provide a clue to what happened, Deputy Police Chief Michael Browne said Friday. He said they had interviewed everyone connected to the death and no one was under suspicion. “Nothing about this death seems suspicious. We’re not treating it that way,” Browne said. “We’re being very thorough. We’re going to look at everything.”

“Undoubtedly it will be found at the end of the day that drugs featured in her death as they did in the death of poor Daniel,” said Michael Scott, a former attorney for Smith in the Bahamas.

(Medical examiners wheel Anna Nicole’s body to private section of hospital)

Smith’s attorney, Ron Rale, said he had talked to her on Tuesday or Wednesday, and she had flu symptoms and a fever and was still grieving over her son. He dismissed claims her death was related to drugs as “a bunch of nonsense.”

“Poor Anna Nicole,” he said. “She’s been the underdog. She’s been besieged … and she’s been trying her best and nobody should have to endure what she’s endured.”

In recent TV appearances, her speech was often slurred and she seemed out of it. Some critics said she seemed drugged-out.

“Undoubtedly it will be found at the end of the day that drugs featured in her death as they did in the death of poor Daniel,” said Michael Scott, a former attorney for Smith in the Bahamas.

Anna Nicole Smith: 1967 - 2007

Anna Nicole Smith and Howard K. Stern were in South Florida this week for business surrounding a purchase from Reel Deal Yachts of Miami Beach. Reel Deal’s owner and President, Marcos Morjain, confirmed that the actual yacht purchase (pictured below) was finalized two weeks ago with Stern, Smith, and their Captain, during their last trip to Miami.

Smith was enthusiastic about the yacht purchase and having it moved to their new home in the Bahamas. The Captain and Stern took possession of the yacht yesterday (Thursday February 8, 2007). Details of the purchase cannot be released. Smith and Stern’s plans were to transport the yacht this morning to the Bahamas. Reel Deal confirms the yacht is on schedule to leave South Florida today. No further comment is available from Reel Deal Yachts.

Meanwhile, the paternity of her now 5-month-old daughter remained a matter of dispute. The Bahamanian birth certificate lists Dannielynn’s father as attorney Howard K. Stern, Smith’s most recent companion.

At the hearing in Los Angeles on Friday, lawyers discussed an emergency motion filed by Birkhead’s attorney, Debra Opri,seeking DNA from Smith’s body, Rale said. Opri said the DNA is needed to connect Smith with Dannielynn “so that no one can switch the babies.”

Opri said Birkhead “is devastated. He is inconsolable, and we are taking steps now to protect the DNA testing of the child. The child is our number one priority.”

But ajudge denied the request from Birkhead for the emergency DNA test. A further hearing is scheduled for February 20th and the judge has ordered that the body be preserved until then.

“There’s no question about her being the mother,” Stern’s attorney, James T. Neavitt said.. “So what’s the purpose of the DNA testing? Why do they need her DNA?”

Rale tells Access Hollywood that Danneilynn is in the Bahamas and that Stern is in Florida. Rale says that he does not believe that Anna Nicole and Stern were legally married.

As a former Playboy playmate, jeans model, widow of an octogenarian oil tycoon and reality TV star, Anna Nicole Smith’s life played out like an extraordinary tabloid tale. It appears her death will too.

Through the ‘90s and into the new century, Smith was famous for being famous, a pop-culture punchline because of her up-and-down weight, her exaggerated curves, her little-girl voice, her ditzy-blonde persona, and her over-the-top revealing outfits.

The curvaceous Texas-born Smith was a topless dancer at strip club before she entered her photos in a search contest and made the cover of Playboy magazine in 1992, captivating readers with her Marilyn Monroe looks. She became Playboy’s playmate of the year in 1993.

She was also signed to a contract with Guess jeans, appearing in TV commercials, billboards and magazine ads.

(Emergency vehicles rush to Anna’s aid onThursday)

In 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, the head of oil-based Koch Industries, which is part of a family fortune worth at least $400 million. He died in 1995 at age 90, setting off a feud with her former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over whether she had a right to his estate.

A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million. That was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court in her battle with her former stepson.

The stepson died June 20 at age 67.

?Our family was shocked by the untimely death of Anna Nicole Smith. We wish to express our sympathies to her family in this difficult time,” the Marshall family said in a statement obtained by Access Hollywood.

“We understand that many of you will be asking questions concerning the ongoing litigation with Anna. Out of respect to her friends and family we will reserve comment on the litigation at this time,” they statement concluded.

* Click here for our Anna Nicole Smith Timeline

She starred in her own reality TV series, “The Anna Nicole Show,” in 2002-04. Cameras followed her around as she sparred with her lawyer, hung out with her personal assistant and interior decorator, and cooed at her poodle, Sugar Pie. She also appeared in movies, performing a bit part in “The Hudsucker Proxy” in 1994.

More recently, Smith’s ballooning figure and up-and-down weight became a subject of public fascination. But she lost a reported 69 pounds and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement.

Smith’s son, Daniel Smith, died Sept. 10 in his mother’s hospital room in the Bahamas, just days after she gave birth to a daughter.

An American medical examiner hired by the family, Cyril Wecht, said he had methadone and two antidepressants in his system when he died. Low levels of the three drugs interacted to cause an accidental death, Wecht said. Last month, a Bahamas magistrate scheduled a formal inquiry into the death for March 27.

(Aerial view of Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, FL)

“Poor Anna Nicole,” he said. “She’s been the underdog. She’s been besieged … and she’s been trying her best and nobody should have to endure what she’s endured.”

Anna Nicole was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on Nov. 28, 1967, in Houston, one of six children of Donald Eugene and Virgie Hart Hogan. She married Bill Smith in 1985, giving birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later.

Hugh Hefner just released a statement on Anna Nicole’s death to Access Hollywood.
?I am very saddened to learn about Anna Nicole?s passing,” he said. “She was a dear friend who meant a great deal to the Playboy family and to me personally. My thoughts and prayers are with her friends and loved ones during this difficult time.?

“From my professional exposure to Anna Nicole, I can say she was always personable, down to earth and driven. All in all, a joy to have as a client,” said Wayne Munroe, her Bahamian lawyer who has overseen the aftermath of her son’s mysterious death in Nassau.

PETA also issued a statement to Access Hollywood on Anna Nicole’s passing.

“PETA is extremely upset by the news of Anna Nicole Smith?s untimely death. She was a great friend to animals and used every opportunity to speak out against senseless cruelty,” they wrote. “We always thought Anna Nicole was a perfect fit for PETA because, just like us, she not only hated cruelty to animals and loved her dog but also couldn?t be ignored, and no matter what people thought of her, they always had an opinion, one way or another . . . It is a tragedy when anyone passes away before their time, but with Anna Nicole, animals have lost a true hero and PETA has lost a good friend. We will miss her.”

TrimSpa removed their homepage and placed this statement in, instead.

?Today, Anna Nicole Smith?s grief stricken and tumultuous personal life came to an end. Anna came to our Company as a customer, but she departs it as a friend. While life for Anna Nicole was not easy these past few months, she held dear her husband, Howard K. Stern, her daughter, Dannielynn Hope, her most cherished friends, beloved dogs, and finally, her work with TrimSpa,” the company’s founder and CEO Alex Goen wrote.

“Anna knew both the joy of giving life, and the heartache of losing a child. We pray that she is granted the peace that eluded her more recent days on earth, and that she find comfort in the presence of her son, Daniel,” he concluded.

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