USA Today reports (along with a gazillion other sources) that Anna Nicole Smith died this afternoon.
Whether you liked her or hated her, you have to remember that she was someones mother, sister and friend. That deserves a little respect no matter how much of a trainwreck the rest of her life became.
From the article:
By Karen Thomas, USA TODAY
The former Playboy playmate collapsed Thursday afternoon and was found unresponsive in her room at the Hard Rock Seminole Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., says Los Angeles attorney Ron Rale, who represents Smith in an ongoing lawsuit regarding the paternity of her daughter. Smith was rushed by ambulance shortly after 2 p.m. to nearby Memorial Regional Hospital, where she died.
Smith had checked into the hotel Monday evening and was due to check out Friday, said Danielle Giordaano, a hotel spokeswoman.
Hotel president Michael Bloom said Smith "was obviously in distress." He said Smith, who has been living in the Bahamas, did not have daughter Dannielynn with her at the hotel. She was accompanied by her longtime lawyer and companion Howard K. Stern, and four others, including a nurse. Smith was hospitalized in November with pneumonia.
Seminole, Fla. Police Chief Charlie Tiger told reporters that Smith's personal nurse found Smith unconscious in her room at 1:39 p.m. ET Thursday. Police were called at 1:45 p.m. "for a person needing medical assistance," Tiger said.
When police arrived, they found Smith, who was being given CPR by her bodyguard, he said.
Five minutes later hotel security and emergency medical technicians responded to her room and contacted local fire and rescue teams.
Edwina Johnson, chief investigator of the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, said the cause of death is under investigation and an autopsy will be done on Friday.
Smith's daughter is the center of an ongoing paternity battle with Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead. A judge ordered this week that Smith must complete DNA testing to determine Dannielynn's father by February 21. Smith's companion Stern has said that he is the baby's father.
Smith gave birth to her daughter in the Bahamas in September. Three days later, her son Daniel, 20, died of a drug overdose while visiting Smith in her hospital room.
"I am very, very sad, but I am not shocked," Smith's former publicist, David Granoff, told MSNBC. He said he had seen Smith on television Wednesday "and she had no spark any more."
"I had it in the back of my mind that something like this was going to happen," he said.
Smith had been a tabloid staple even before she became Playboy's playmate of the year in 1993. Readers were fascinated by her bombshell good looks, her marriage to an elderly billionaire and subsequent court fight over his estate, her weight fluctuations, and last year, the sudden death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith.
A former topless dancer, she made her name squeezing into Guess jeans. She resembled the late actress Marilyn Monroe, a similarity played up in her Guess magazine ads, billboards and department store displays.
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, 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 in a complicated legal twist that began after she declared bankruptcy. 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 justices said only that federal courts in California could deal with her case despite a Texas state court ruling that Marshall was the sole heir to the estate.
Then, the stepson died June 20 at age 67. But the family said the court fight would continue.
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.
Meanwhile, the paternity of her now 5-month-old daughter remained a matter of dispute.
She 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.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Randy Lilleston in McLean, Va.