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Anna Nicole Smith dead

Friday, February 09, 2007
Anna Nicole Smith has died. The 39-year-old former Playboy model was pronounced dead in Florida's Memorial Regional Hospital at around 1:15 pm yesterday Anna Nicole was rushed to hospital after a private nurse found her unconscious in her room at Hollywood's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Hotel president Michael Brown said Anna Nicole was "not breathing and unresponsive" when paramedics arrived. US TV show Access Hollywood claim Anna Nicole choked on her own vomit and was found under a sheet by one of her employees. They also allege Anna Nicole had taken a "child's sedative" and kept "passing out" before her death.

Anna Nicole's lawyer Ronald Rale said her lover Howard K Stern had been left shocked by her sudden death. Rale said: "I can confirm that she is deceased. It's as shocking to me as to you guys. I don't know anything further. Howard obviously is speechless and grieving. Anna did have some flu symptoms. I believe the last couple of days she was not feeling well." Police said the cause of death was unknown and have scheduled an autopsy for today. Anna Nicole's death came during a time of personal grief and a bitter paternity battle.

Her 20-year-old son Daniel, died in the Bahamas five months ago - just three days after Anna Nicole gave birth to her daughter Dannielynn. Toxicology reports determined Daniel had taken a lethal combination of antidepressants and methadone. Anna Nicole was ordered to have her daughter undergo a paternity test, after former lover photographer Larry Birkheard filed a lawsuit claiming he was Dannielynn's father. Anna Nicole insisted Stern, who was also her lawyer, was the father of the child.

The actress-and-model was ordered to complete the test before February 21 by a Los Angeles judge on Wednesday. Dannielynn was not with her mother when she died. She is in the Bahamas - where she was born - in the care of a family friend. Anna Nicole was born Vickie Lynn Hogan and raised in Texas by her mother and aunt. After dropping out of high school aged 17, she met her first husband Billy Smith, but later split from him and moved to Houston to become a stripper.

It was here that she met elderly oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall. Anna Nicole, 26, married Marshall, 89, in 1994, before he died the following year. She spent the next decade battling his family for his estate. In May 2006 the US Supreme Court ruled Anna Nicole could pursue her case in Federal Court. The blonde got her big break in 1991 when Playboy boss Hugh Hefner personally chose her to appear on the cover of the magazine. She was named Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Year in 1993 and appeared in 'The Hudsucker Proxy' and 'Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult'. She also had her own outrageous reality TV series 'The Anna Nicole Smith show' from 2002 to 2004

Hugh Hefner has paid tribute to Anna Nicole Smith following her tragic death. Friends and colleagues of the former Playboy Playmate have expressed their grief after the troubled star passed away last night. Playboy founder Hugh said: "I'm very saddened to learn about Anna Nicole's passing. 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." US talk show host Larry King said: "She was a special person, she was an unusual person. She was genuine, she was funny, she had some class. I feel very, very sorry for everybody concerned, but mostly for her daughter Dannielynn."

The 39-year-old model-turned-actress was once the poster girl for Guess? jeans, and starred in 'Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult'. CEO of Guess jeans, Paul Marciano, said: "She had something magic. This is a very tragic and sad day. Personally I feel she did not recover from the loss of her son Daniel who was the love of her life." She was working as the spokesmodel for diet pill Trimspa when she died. CEO of Trimspa, Alex Goen, said: "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. 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 finds comfort in the presence of her son, Daniel."

Anna Nicole also did a lot of work for animal rights group PETA. PETA released a statement saying: "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. 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. 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."

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