Former model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith was pronounced dead on Thursday. She was 39.
The all-American blonde bombshell, who grew up in a small Texas town, became one of the biggest and brashest stars in the world.
The first news of Anna Nicole’s death came from one of her lawyers, Ronald Rale, as he spoke to MSNBC’s Rita Cosby.
“I can confirm Anna Nicole is deceased; I was informed with a person who was in the room with Howard Stern,” Rale revealed.
He said while she felt ill, suffering from flu-like symptoms, nothing else seemed out of the ordinary for the former Playboy playmate.
Anna Nicole collapsed at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, where she was found unresponsive.
Her bodyguard was the first to administer CPR, and once on the scene, paramedics raced to save her life, even put a breathing apparatus in her throat.
But sadly, it wasn’t enough to save her life. Anna Nicole was pronounced dead at 2:49 p.m.
The cause of death is still unknown and will be determined by the medical examiner as the Florida police investigate this tragic story.
The man she’s been referring to as her husband, her lawyer Howard K. Stern, who claims to be the father of her baby, was with her; the couple was reportedly in Florida to purchase a boat.
The family of Howard Marshall II, whom Anna Nicole married 1994, issued this statement:
“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. 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.”
Hugh Hefner released this statement to "Extra:"
“I am 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.”
From Playmate to billionaire bride, her court fight, TrimSpa ads and everything in between, it seemed America couldn’t get enough of Anne Nicole’s life, which led to her hit reality show.
“Extra” first met Anna in 1997, when the model and actress told us how she’d beaten an addiction to booze and drugs.
“My son walked into my room, and he kind of opened the door, peeked up a bit and said, ‘Mommy, do you need anything?’ It kind of woke me up and hit home,” she admitted.
It was her son, Daniel, who was a steadfast by her side, even as she battled for a fortune after her Texas oil tycoon husband, J. Howard Marshall, passed away.
It was also in the courtroom that her lifelong fascination with Marilyn Monroe turned into this eerie prediction on the stand: “I want to be buried in the same concrete thing as Marilyn Monroe.”
But “Extra” also knew the wild side of Anna Nicole, who loved to party across the world.
Most recently, we spotted her partying it up in the Virgin Islands at a Jose Cuervo beauty contest.
“I always wanted to be in a pageant, but I never could,” she said. “I guess because I’m a bad girl.”
It was this self-proclaimed bad girl who used her celebrity to turn TrimSpa ads into an American catchphrase of “Do you like my body? TrimSpa baby!”
But Anna’s life took a sudden and tragic turn almost six months ago to the day, when her son suddenly died in the Bahamas from a mix of Methadone and anti-depressants just three days after the birth of her baby girl, Dannielynn.
Smith’s daughter’s birth sparked a fierce battle between Howard K. Stern and Anna’s former boyfriend Larry Birkhead.
Just this week Anna was ordered by a judge to provide DNA samples by Feb. 21 to determine who Dannielynn’s daddy really is.
Now, the whirlwind of Anna Nicole’s life has finally calmed, as her family and loved ones mourn the tragic loss of her life.
Click on an image to view the Anna Nicole Smith photo gallery