An accidental prescription drug overdose killed Anna Nicole Smith last month, the medical examiner who performed her autopsy said Monday.
Dr. Joshua A. Perper, the Broward County medical examiner, said he found traces of many drugs in Ms. Smith’s body, including muscle relaxants, pain relievers like methadone and several anti-anxiety medicines. Dr. Perper described her cause of death as combined drug intoxication, the primary drug being the potent sedative chloral hydrate.
An intestinal flu and a bacterial infection, possibly from an injection with a contaminated needle, were contributing factors, Dr. Perper said during a news conference in Dania Beach. No illegal drugs were found in her system.
A private nurse found Ms. Smith, a former Playboy centerfold, model and reality television star, unconscious on Feb. 8 in her suite at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. After several resuscitation attempts, she was pronounced dead that afternoon at a nearby hospital.
Ms. Smith was 39 and still mourning her son, Daniel, 20, who died from a lethal drug combination last September, days after Ms. Smith gave birth to a daughter, Dannielynn.
Dr. Perper ruled out suicide as a cause. He said that according to her friends, Ms. Smith was in “outstanding general spirits” in the days preceding her trip from the Bahamas to South Florida for what was to be a four-night stay. Before leaving the Bahamas on Feb. 5, she even had a dance lesson in preparation for a music video and an event for TrimSpa, a diet supplement she was paid to promote.
Chief Charlie Tiger of the Seminole Police Department said he had found no evidence of foul play.
Dr. Perper would not identify the doctors who prescribed Ms. Smith the various medications, saying it was a private matter. But he did say that on the night she arrived in South Florida, Ms. Smith had a fever of 105, probably because of the infection she had from injecting “longevity drugs” — a combination of vitamin B12, immunoglobulins and human growth hormone — into her buttocks.
Ms. Smith refused to go to the emergency room that night; instead, she broke her fever in an ice bath, took antibiotics and flu medicine and went to sleep. She regained her strength over the next few days, Dr. Perper said, but kept taking chloral hydrate, a drug that was popular in the 19th century but is rarely prescribed these days, to get to sleep at night, New York Times reports.
The autopsy report left some unanswered questions such as why it took so long for emergency personnel to be summoned when Smith was discovered unresponsive Feb. 8 in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
The report found that a private nurse had asked a bodyguard to call 911 around 1 p.m. and had started CPR. The Seminole EMS was called about 1:40 p.m. by a bodyguard and arrived six minutes later. The ambulance reached the hospital at 2:43 p.m., and Smith was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Perper said Smith could have been saved had she been hospitalized earlier in the week simply because her drug intake could have been controlled.
"If she would have gone to the hospital she wouldn't have died because she wouldn't have had the opportunity to take the excessive amount of chloral hydrate," he told The Associated Press.
Two diaries written by Anna Nicole Smith have sold on online auction site eBay for more than $US500,000 to a German man planning to use them as the basis of a book, according to the memorabilia house that sold them.
Jeff Woolf, co-partner and auction director at Universal Rarities in Corona, California, said the diaries, from 1992 and 1994, were found a few years ago by a man cleaning out a house in Los Angeles where Smith stayed during a filming project.
He sold the diaries to a memorabilia collector who runs a shop on Hollywood Boulevard who came forward with the diaries after the mystery death of the former Playmate in a Florida hotel on February 8 at the age of 39.
In the 1992 diary, which has the words "I follow my own star" on the cover, Woolf said Smith confesses: "I hate for men to want sex all the time. I hate sex." This diary sold for about $US285,000.
In the second diary Smith writes about the illness of her billionaire husband Howard Marshall, who died in 1995 at the age of 90, with a religious awakening with lots of references to Jesus. This sold for about $US230,000, Reuters reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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