Anna Nicole Smith, the curvaceous blonde whose life played out as an extraordinary tabloid tale -- Playboy centerfold, jeans model, bride of an octogenarian oil tycoon, reality-show subject and tragic mother -- has died after collapsing at a hotel. She was 39.
She was stricken while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and was rushed to a hospital on Thursday.
Edwina Johnson, chief investigator for the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, said the cause of death was being investigated and an autopsy was scheduled for yesterday.
Just five months ago, Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel, died suddenly in the Bahamas in what was believed to be a drug-related death.
Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said a private nurse called paramedics after finding Smith unresponsive in her sixth-floor room at the hotel, which is on an Indian reservation.
He said Smith's bodyguard administered CPR, but she was declared dead at a hospital.
Later on Thursday, two sheriff's deputies carried out at least eight brown paper bags sealed with red evidence tape from Smith's hotel room.
Joshua Perper, the chief Broward County medical examiner who will perform the autopsy, said if Smith's death came as a result of natural causes, the findings would likely be announced quickly.
He cautioned, however, that definitive results could take weeks.
Through the 1990s and into this century, Smith was famous for being famous, a pop-culture punchline because of her up-and-down weight, her Marilyn Monroe looks, her exaggerated curves, her little-girl voice, her ditzy-blonde persona and her revealing outfits.
Recently, she lost a reported 31kg and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement. On her reality show and other 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 a former attorney for Smith in the Bahamas, Michael Scott.