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DANIA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - An accidental overdose of prescription drugs including a potent sedative killed Anna Nicole Smith, officials said on Monday, ending weeks of uncertainty over the tabloid star's sudden death.

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There was no evidence that illegal drugs or foul play had a role in the death of the former Playboy Playmate, who collapsed on February 8 in a Florida hotel, triggering a media frenzy.

Her death also sparked a legal feud over her burial and a custody and paternity battle over her 6-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, who could one day inherit millions as the only surviving offspring of the 39-year-old widow of a billionaire.

"We are convinced, based on an extensive view of the evidence, that this case is an accidental overdose with no other criminal elements present," said Police Chief Charlie Tiger. "We found nothing to indicate any foul play."

Smith suffered severe depression after the death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel, who died of a drug overdose in September at a Bahamas hospital after Dannielynn was born, said Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper.

She complained of chills when she arrived in Florida on February 5 and was later found to be running a 105 degree (40.5 Celsius) fever caused by the perforation of an abscess in her left buttock, Perper said.

"It is our determination that the cause of death is combined drug toxicity as a result of chloral hydrate and a therapeutic concentration of other medications," he said.

"A bacterial infection, a viral intestinal infection and possibly flu were contributory causes of death," he added.

The nine drugs found in her blood included anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications and the sedative chloral hydrate, Perper said. Other drugs included Valium and Ativan.

MARILYN MONROE

Smith hit the headlines in 1994 when she married oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall when she was 26 and he was 89. Marshall, worth $1.6 billion, died 14 months later and Smith battled his family for a decade over his estate.

The voluptuous blonde, who came from a small town in Texas and gained fame as Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Year in 1993 and as a model for Guess? jeans, idolized screen legend Marilyn Monroe and had said she wanted to emulate her death.

Similarities between the drugs in the deaths of Smith and Monroe -- who died in 1962 of a drug overdose ruled probable suicide -- led the coroner to suspect suicide in Smith's case but the theory was rejected, the autopsy report said.

Smith was buried in the Bahamas on March 2 after a funeral where mourners included longtime companion and lawyer Howard K. Stern, listed as Dannielynn's father on her birth certificate, and Los Angeles photographer Larry Birkhead, who also claims paternity.

The media storm that followed Smith's death made it the latest tabloid story to dominate U.S. news with wall-to-wall TV coverage and long interviews in which people surrounding the case are encouraged to comment on events.

In the latest twist, Stern's lawyer said the verdict on Smith's death exonerated her client.

"Howard does not feel vindicated. He doesn't feel relief. He doesn't feel peace. He has lost the most important person in the world today and nothing can change that," lawyer Krista Barth told a news conference.

At least one other man claims to be Dannielynn's father. The results of a DNA swab of the child have been placed under seal by a judge in the Bahamas, pending an appeal against the DNA test by Stern.
 

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Come on! I was hoping this was my one sanctuary away from hearing about this bimbo! She's dead. She's been dead for weeks. Let's move on.
 

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She died just like her son did also and the only one that stands to gain anything now is that guy that has her kid. If you ask me he had something to do with both of their deaths and he is not the father of the little girl.
 

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KK3869 said:
As Gomer Pyle would say "Surprise, surprise, surprise"
EXACTLY!!!! What did she do for our country, besides raise a few teenagers middle leg!!
 

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BadBowtie said:
She died just like her son did also and the only one that stands to gain anything now is that guy that has her kid. If you ask me he had something to do with both of their deaths and he is not the father of the little girl.

I know we are tired of hearing about this story, but I had to mention it is official as of today. Stern is not the father, and now I'm will to place a bet on the other half of my post above, Stern had something to do with Anna and her son's deaths.
 
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