The 39-year-old Smith, born in Houston, TX as Vickie Lynn Hogan, collapsed and was unresponsive while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino and was then rushed to a hospital, according to her attorney Ron Rale.
"I can confirm that she is deceased. It's as shocking to me as to you guys," Rale told Reuters. "I don't know anything further. [Her lawyer and partner] Howard [K. Stern] obviously is speechless and grieving."
Smith's nurse found the former model "unresponsive" and called hotel workers at 1:38PM, according to Reuters, at which point security was sent to her sixth-floor room. Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger told The Associated Press Smith's bodyguard administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Minutes later, fire rescue workers from both the Seminole Indian tribe and town of Hollywood, FL reportedly arrived and transported Smith to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
"At 2:49 this afternoon, we were advised by hospital personnel that Anna Nicole Smith had died. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," Tiger said during a televised news conference.
Edwina Johnson, chief investigator of the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, told The AP the cause of Smith's death was under investigation and added an autopsy would be done by Friday.
Dr. Cyril Wecht -- the same forensic toxologist who performed the autopsy on her son Daniel after he died last September while visiting his mother after she gave birth to his half-sister in the Bahamas -- told MSNBC there are several possibilities for Smith's death, including "viral pneumonia, drug-related causes or a generic heart defect" that also played a factor in her son's death.
"When you have sudden, unexpected death, there aren't too many things that can do that," Wecht told MSNBC. "You look to the heart and see what produces the cardiac arrhythmia."
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