Pop Culture

No evidence of foul play in Smith’s death

Prescription drugs were found in Anna Nicole Smith’s hotel room, but there were no pills in her stomach, and investigators said Friday they are awaiting tests that would tell whether the former centerfold died of an overdose, as some close to her suspect.

Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward County medical examiner, said no illegal drugs were found in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. He would not identify the prescription drugs.

But CNN quoted an unidentified law enforcement source as saying investigators found a large amount of prescription medicine, including Valium and antibiotics, and over-the-counter cold and flu medication.

Star magazine also is reporting that Smith's Florida hotel room was like "walking into a pharmacist's shop" and that prescription medication found at the scene included the stimulant Provigil, the antidepressant Xanax, the powerful pain reliever Vicodin, and the morphine-like pain reliever Methadone.

Perper said there were no pills in Smith’s stomach and no other immediate indication of an overdose, but officials “do not exclude any kind of contribution of medication to the death.”

Describing signs of inflammation in Smith’s heart, Perper said he saw “something which looks a little bit unusual,” but added, “It may be nothing.”

He said it would take three to five weeks to conclude the investigation.

Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said there was no indication Smith was the victim of a crime, and Perper said the autopy was able to exclude any types of physical injury such as blows to the body or asphyxiation.

“There are a number of possibilities” as to the cause of death, Perper said, including natural causes, a drug reaction or some combination.

Smith apparently had been sick for several days with some kind of stomach flu, Perper said.

Authorities planned to interview nurses and examine medical records before settling on a cause of death, Perper said.

On Thursday, a private nurse found Smith unconscious in her room and called 911. Smith was declared dead at a hospital. She was 39.

Smith's mother blamed drugs for the former Playboy playmate’s sudden death.

'Too drugged up'
“I think she had too many drugs, just like Danny (Smith’s late son),” her mother, Vergie Arthur, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday. “I tried to warn her about drugs and the people that she hung around with. She didn’t listen.”

“She was too drugged up,” Arthur said. “By the last interview I saw of her, she was so wasted.”

Smith’s attorney, Ron Rale, said the one-time reality TV star had been ill for several days with a fever and was still depressed over the death five months ago of her 20-year-old son from what a private medical examiner determined was a combination of methadone and two antidepressants.

The birth certificate lists Dannielynn’s father as attorney Howard K. Stern, Smith’s most recent companion, who Rale said was with Smith at the hotel and was too choked up to talk when he called Rale with the news. Smith’s ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead is waging a legal challenge, saying he is the father.

At a hearing Friday in Los Angeles, a judge declined Birkhead’s attorney’s request to order an immediate DNA sample be taken from Smith’s body. The judge ordered the body be retained, though, until a hearing on Feb. 20, attorney Debra Opri said.

Opri said the DNA is needed to connect Smith with Dannielynn “so that no one can switch the babies.”

She also asked the judge to take jurisdiction over the child until her paternity is established. “Nothing was granted. Nothing was denied,” she said.

Rale, Smith’s attorney, said it was “despicable that we would have an emergency notice and appear right now.”

The baby was being cared for in the Bahamas by the mother of Shane Gibson, the Bahamian immigration minister who is a close friend of Smith’s, People magazine reported on its Web site, citing unidentified sources.

A visibly shaken Gibson declined comment as he was leaving his office Thursday night, and he has not responded to several message left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Through the ’90s and into the 21st 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 over-the-top revealing outfits.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Jessica Rinaldi / X01704

    Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia High School year book under the name, Nikki Hart, in Mexia

    Anna Nicole Smith

    The short, tragic life of the former Playboy playmate and model.

  • Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia High School year book under the name, Nikki Hart, in Mexia

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Texas teen

    Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia (Texas) High School yearbook under the name Nikki Hart. School officials say Smith went by the name Nikki Hart during her brief tenure there.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Short, tragic life

    The cover of the June 1993 Playmate of the Year issue of Playboy magazine featured Anna Nicole Smith. Smith, the pneumatic blonde whose life played out as an extraordinary tabloid tale -- jeans model, Playboy centerfold, widow of an octogenarian billionaire, reality-show subject, tragic mother -- died Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007, after collapsing at a Hollywood, Fla., hotel. She was 39.

    Playboy / Playboy
  • Smith & Her License Plate

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    She had drive

    Smith holds a Texas license plate that reads "PMOY 93" (Playmate of the Year).

    Time & Life Pictures / Time & Life Pictures
  • ANNA NICOLE SMITHⓡ HOWARD MARSHALL    after his death, anna nicole smith fights

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Happy husband

    Millionaire J. Howard Marshall II made headlines in 1994 when he married Smith. She was 26 and he was 89. He died Aug. 5, 1995, when he was 90. Smith and Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, battled over Marshall's estate. The boy next to Marshall is Smith's late son, Daniel.

    Sipa Press / Sipa Press
  • NICOLE SMITH

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Daniel's short life

    Smith and her son Daniel, 13, leave a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 1999. His body was found in the Bahamas on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006. A coroner's report ruled the death was caused by an overdose of anti-depressants and methadone.

    AP / AP
  • MARSHALL SMITH STERN

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    Fighting for her share

    Smith listens in court in Houston with her attorneys Tom Cunningham and Howard Stern on Monday, Oct. 2, 2000. Sixteen jurors, four of them alternates, were seated to hear the lawsuit where Smith laid claim to a share of the oil fortune of her deceased husband, J. Howard Marshall II. Smith married the Texas oil tycoon in 1994 and he died the following year. Stern later reportedly married Smith and claimed to be the father of Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.

    Pool via AP / Pool via AP
  • SMITH

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Back to work

    Smith is surrounded by members of KISS at the conclusion of the Lane Bryant show featuring plus size fashions in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002. The legendary rock band gave a live performance throughout the runway show, which kicked off New York Fashion Week.

    AP / AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Activist

    In this handout image from PETA, Smith poses as Marliyn Monroe for a 2004 ad campaign titled, Gentlemen Prefer Fur Free Blondes. PETA's Michael McGraw said in reaction to Smith's death, "She was a great friend to animals and used every opportunity to speak out against senseless cruelty."

    PETA via AP / PETA via AP
  • NYC: Heatherette - Fall 2004 - Runway

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    Hot pink

    Smith walks the runway at the Heatherette fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 12, 2004.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • "G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles

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    Always outrageous

    Smith feigns a "wardrobe malfunction" before announcing Rikku in "Final Fantasy X-2" as the Hottest Character award winner during "G-Phoria -- The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 2004.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • ANNA NICOLE

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Strange behavior

    Smith waves during an appearance backstage during the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia on July 2, 2005. The production company behind the concerts claimed in a lawsuit against Trimspa Inc. that its reputation was damaged by Smith's attire and conduct. Smith, a spokesperson for Trimspa, was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

    AP / AP
  • SMITH STERN

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    Wowing the Supremes

    Smith and her lawyer Howard K. Stern leave the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28, 2006. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that Smith could continue her claim for part of her late husband's fortune.

    AP / AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Home sweet home?

    Smith holds her daughter Dannielyn Hope and poses with Stern and "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Mark Steines at the couple's home in the Bahamas on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006. Businessman and former boyfriend G. Ben Thompson threatened to evict Smith from her Bahamas home, claiming she wasn't making the mortgage payments.

    Entertainment Tonight via AP / Entertainment Tonight via AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith watches a boxing match from the ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    No sign of trouble

    Smith watched a boxing match from near ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2007. She died Feb. 8, 2007.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Virgie Arthur (C) mother of Anna Nichole

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    A mother mourns

    Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, center, and her husband James Arthur, left, embrace as the coffin of Anna Nicole leaves a Bahamas church on March 2, 2007, as the former Playboy model headed to her final resting three weeks after her death. A throng of Bahamians, tourists and media crushed behind police barriers as the pink-laced white coffin was carried into the Mount Horeb Baptist Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas, for a funeral ceremony closed to all but 300 invited guests.The church was reportedly filled with pink roses, and sources close to the funeral said Smith's body was clad in a gown and tiara.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Locals stand before the grave of Anna Ni

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    Laid to rest

    Locals stand before the grave of Smith at the Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Nassau, Bahamas, on March 2, 2007.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    'I told you so!'

    Larry Birkhead rejoices after hearing in a Bahamian court on April 10, 2007, that he has been proven to be the legal father of Smith's baby, Dannielynn. Birkhead later hugged Howard K. Stern, who had been acting as the baby's father.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Larry Berkhead, Dannielynn

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    Derby day with daughter

    Birkhead and Dannielynn feed a pony at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday, April 28. 2010. Birkhead, a Louisville native, first met Anna Nicole at a 2004 party around the famous horse race.

    AP / AP

Recently, she lost a reported 69 pounds and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement. In 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 Michael Scott, a former attorney for Smith in the Bahamas.

Rale said he had talked to her on Tuesday or Wednesday, and she had flu symptoms and a fever and was still grieving over her son. He dismissed claims her death was related to drugs as “a bunch of nonsense.”

“Poor Anna Nicole,” he said. “She’s been the underdog. She’s been besieged ... and she’s been trying her best and nobody should have to endure what she’s endured.”

The Texas-born Smith was a topless dancer at a strip club before she made the cover of Playboy magazine in 1992. She became Playboy’s playmate of the year in 1993. She was also signed to a contract with Guess jeans, appearing in TV commercials, billboards and magazine ads.

Legal fight for late husband's moneyIn 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, owner of Great Northern Oil Co. After his death the following year, she engaged in a protracted legal fight with her former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over whether she had a right to the estate.

A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million. That was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.

The stepson died June 20 at age 67, but the family said the court fight would continue.

Smith starred in her own reality TV series, “The Anna Nicole Show,” in 2002-04. She also appeared in movies, performing a bit part in “The Hudsucker Proxy” in 1994.

Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on Nov. 28, 1967, in Houston, one of six children. Her parents split up when she was a toddler, and she was raised by her mother, a deputy sheriff.

She dropped out after 11th grade after she was expelled for fighting, and worked as a waitress and then a cook at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken restaurant in Mexia.

She married 16-year-old fry cook Bill Smith in 1985, giving birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later.

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