Paula Yates' Death Ruled Overdose

LONDON (Reuters) — British television personality Paula Yates, one-time partner of rock stars Michael Hutchence and Bob Geldof, died from a drug overdose, a coroner ruled today.

Yates, 41, was found dead at her London home on Sept. 17.

"Paula Yates died of non-dependent use of drugs," said a spokeswoman for Westminster Coroner's Court. "Traces of morphine, which is a derivative of heroin, were found in her blood."

Coroner Paul Knapman told the inquest that Yates had not committed suicide, BBC radio reported. Her death was the result of "an unsophisticated taker of heroin" using drugs, he said.

The court heard that 0.3 milligrams of morphine per liter of blood was found in her body, which would not have been enough to kill her had she been a heroin addict.

A close friend of Yates, Belinda Brewin, told the inquest Yates had not taken illegal drugs for nearly two years, but had started again the day before her death, the BBC said.

Yates had waged a long and very public battle against drugs and alcohol.

She found fame in the 1980s as co-presenter on Channel Four's music program The Tube and later on The Big Breakfast, in which she invited celebrities into bed for early morning interviews.

Yates had four children — Fifi Trixibelle, 17; Peaches, 11; and Pixie, 10 — by Irishman Geldof and Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, 4, by Hutchence, lead singer with Australian band INXS.

She had been suffering from bouts of depression since Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room in Sydney in November 1997.

Yates, who had said Hutchence was the love of her life, refused to accept a coroner's verdict that he had committed suicide, claiming instead that he died accidentally during a sex game.

Hutchence's mother Patricia Glassop and his half-sister Tina Hutchence said last month Michael had been driven to suicide by constant fights with Yates. They said Hutchence had not been in love with Yates and did not want to marry her.

Yates' body was found in the bedroom of her house in London's trendy Notting Hill by a family friend.

Tiger Lily was made a ward of court after her mother's death and is currently being cared for by Geldof, who already had custody of his three children. Geldof and Yates were divorced in 1996.