Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy playmate whose bizarre life careened from marriage to an octogenarian billionaire to the untimely death of her son, died today after collapsing at a Florida hotel, her lawyer said.
Smith, 39, collapsed and was unresponsive while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Café Hotel and Casino, said the attorney, Ron Rale. She was taken to a hospital.
“She checked in Monday at 8pm local time (1am Irish time) as a guest. She was due to check out tomorrow,” said Danielle Giordaano, a spokeswoman for the hotel.
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 the sudden death last year 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 magazine ads, billboards and department store displays.
In 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon Howard Marshall, the head of oil-based Koch Industries, which is part of a family fortune worth at least $400m (€306.8m).
Marshall died in 1995, setting off a feud with her former stepson Pierce Marshall over whether she had a right to his estate.
A court in California awarded Smith £474m (€363.4m) in a complicated legal twist that began after she declared bankruptcy. That was later overturned.
In May, the US Supreme Court revived her case. The judges said only that lower federal courts in California could deal with her case, despite a Texas state court ruling that Marshall was the estate’s sole heir.
The stepson died in June at the age of 67, but the family said the court fight would continue.
Daniel Smith died on September 10 in his mother’s hospital room in the Bahamas, just days after she gave birth to a daughter.
A medical examiner hired by the family said he had methadone and two antidepressants in his system when he died.
Meanwhile, the paternity of her now five-month-old daughter remained a matter of dispute.
Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 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.