Anna Nicole Smith, a former Playboy bunny, reality television star and model, was pronounced dead today at the Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.
The cause of Smith's death is not known, Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said in an afternoon press conference. An autopsy will be performed by the Broward County medical examiner.
Tiger said a private nurse in Smith's room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino called the hotel operator at 1:38 p.m. to say that the troubled celebrity needed medical help.
Local fire and rescue units responded to a 911 call from the hotel shortly before 1:45 p.m., said Matthew Phillips, a spokesman for the parametics.
There, the paramedics found Smith, 39, unconscious and not breathing, Phillips said.
"Our rescue crews got there, and they were escorted to a bedroom, where they found a female alone in her room and unresponsive," Phillips said. "We then began our normal protocol for dealing with a nonbreathing individual."
They proceeded to transport Smith 3 miles to the hospital, continuing to use all the life-support measures they could. By the time they reached the hospital, Smith had not regained consciousness and was not breathing.
"The victim never regained consciousness," Phillips said. "We continued with CPR and all life-support methods right up until the time we delivered her to the hospital and then the hospital takes over."
At 2:49 p.m., hospital personnel announced that Smith was dead.
Smith was staying at the hotel with Howard K. Stern -- her attorney, boyfriend and the disputed father of her new daughter -- and a bodyguard, Hard Rock public relations manager Julianne Carelli confirmed.
She had been staying at the hotel since Monday and was set to check out tomorrow, the hotel spokesman said. She had stayed there three times before, including about a year before for a Trimspa advertising shoot.
Stern's whereabouts are not known. Asked at the press conference where Stern was, Tiger said he did not know. "He was here with her," Tiger said. "I don't know where he's at right now."
Tiger, the Seminole police chief, said the hotel room would be investigated as a crime scene.
While Smith's life has featured a string of bizarre episodes, the last year has been marked with chaotic events and increasingly unstable behavior.
Smith gave birth in September to a daughter, whose paternity remains in question. The birth was followed three days later with the sudden death of Smith's 20-year-old son, Danny, who was discovered in her hospital room shortly after arriving from Los Angeles to meet his new half sister.
"You've got two deaths in the last six months -- both are mysterious, both apparently involve excessive use of narcotics -- and I don't mean to be an alarmist, but Howard K. Stern was there for both," said an attorney who has worked for Smith.
In terms of the legal implications of her sudden death, this attorney characterized the situation as "a mess."