Continually in the tabloids, actress and model Anna Nicole Smith continues to make headlines after her death, as her legal disputes remain undecided and U.S. authorities probe the cause of her sudden death.
Authorities said she was rushed to hospital on Thursday afternoon after a private nurse found her unconscious and unresponsive at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Smith, the 39-year-old former Playboy model, died Thursday.
Deputy Police Chief Michael Browne said Friday that officials have interviewed everyone connected to the death and no one was under suspicion."Nothing about this death seems suspicious. We're not treating it that way," Browne said. "We're being very thorough. We're going to look at everything."
The medical examiner's office also said it began conducting an autopsy on Friday morning. Dr. Joshua Perper, who was scheduled to perform the autopsy, had said Thursday that if Smith died of natural causes, the findings would likely be released quickly. However, definitive results could take weeks, he added.
Smith had been embroiled in several legal disputes prior to her death, including a paternity suit over her five-month-old daughter.
Attorney Howard K. Stern, Smith's most recent partner, is listed as the baby's father on the birth certificate. However, her former boyfriend Larry Birkhead has claimed to be the infant's biological father.
An emergency court hearing into the paternity suit was scheduled for Friday in Los Angeles.
Just last week, Smith had been included in a class-action lawsuit against TrimSpa, which produces a weight-loss pill for which she served as spokesperson. The suit alleges the marketing of the weight-loss supplement was false and misleading.
Most prominently, however, Smith — a former Playboy covergirl, playmate of the year and Guess model — was involved in a decade-long battle over the fortune of her former husband, J. Howard Marshall.
The Houston-born Smith, a former topless dancer, was notorious for her relationship with the 89-year-old oil tycoon after meeting him at a Texas strip club. They had been married for 14 months when he died in 1995.
A federal court in California initially awarded Smith $474 million US, but the decision was later overturned. However, in May 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that she could continue her fight for the Marshall fortune.