Paula Yates Dead at 40

ByABC News

September 18, 2000 -- TV presenter Paula Yates, ex-wife of Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid founder Bob Geldof, and girlfriend of late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, was found dead in her London apartment on Sunday morning.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard declared results of a post-mortem examination conducted Monday "inconclusive," adding, "We await the results of further tests."

Reports in the press alleged that an empty vodka bottle and a half-empty bottle of prescription painkillers were found alongside the naked body of Yates, 40, and that traces of heroin and marijuana were discovered on her bedside table. There was no evidence of violence.

"The death is being treated as suspicious until the cause of death has been established," said the police spokesperson. "The full circumstances will be subject to a coroner's inquiry."

Yates was divorced from Geldof, whose Irish punk band the Boomtown Rats is best remembered for "I Don't Like Mondays" and "Up All Night." The two met in 1977, when Yates was 17, and later had three daughters — Fifi Trixibelle, 17; Peaches, 11; and Pixie, 10 — all of whom Geldof has custody of.

"We are all so sad," said the singer in a brief statement. "The loss for all the children is insupportable."

In 1995, Yates left Geldof, whom she married in Las Vegas in 1986, and took up with Hutchence. The Australian heartthrob later wrote the song "She Flirts for England," featured on his posthumous self-titled solo album, for his new lover.

Hutchence was found hanged in a hotel room in Sydney in 1997, at the age of 37, in what was later ruled a suicide, although Yates always insisted his demise was an accident. A British court assigned temporary custody of the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, to Geldof on Monday.

Although she was infamous for playing out her often-messy personal life in the full view of the press, Yates was a successful media icon in her own right. After ditching U.S. punk pioneer Richard Hell to take up with Geldof, she soon parlayed her new show business contacts into her first book, Rockstars in Their Underpants, featuring photos of numerous music personalities in various states of undress.

In the early '80s, she joined ex-Squeeze keyboard player Jools Holland as co-presenter of the highly successful U.K. music TV program The Tube (featured stateside on MTV in the network's infancy). She graduated to the popular morning show The Big Breakfast, where she interviewed pop celebrities on an oversized bed, until she was fired from the program in 1995.

A successful newspaper and magazine columnist, Yates wrote several other books, including two tomes on parenting and a best-selling autobiography. She also enjoyed a brief career as a recording artist, contributing a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" to the 1982 British Electric Foundation album Music of Quality and Distinction Volume One, which also featured Tina Turner.

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