Initial autopsy results: Smith death not foul play
POSTED: 3:45 p.m. EST, February 9, 2007
• NEW: Medical examiner finds no drugs in stomach, no injuries
• NEW: No crime appears to have been committed, police say
• Celebrity had high fever earlier in week, "ET" reporter says
• Judge orders body preserved until February 20 hearing
More on CNN TV: Join Larry King for special coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's sudden death. Watch at 9 p.m. ET Friday.
HOLLYWOOD, Florida (CNN) -- Anna Nicole Smith did not appear to be a victim of foul play, according to preliminary results of an autopsy Friday.
The cause and manner of death were not determined, however, and the investigation remains open.
Dr. Joel A. Perper, chief medical examiner of Broward County, Florida, said there was no indication of blunt-force trauma, asphyxiation or other physical trauma.
Perper said his office is awaiting results of toxicological and other tests, but there were no drugs in her stomach.
"There are a number of possibilities," he said, including natural causes, a drug reaction or some combination of causes.
Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said no evidence suggests a crime occurred.
Tiger said no illegal drugs were found in Smith's hotel room. He said prescription drugs were found, but would not name them.
He said police were still analyzing surveillance tapes from the hotel, but so far had seen nothing unusual.
While the autopsy was taking place, a California judge ruled Smith's body must be preserved until at least February 20, when a hearing will be held to resolve a paternity dispute over the celebrity's 5-month-old daughter.
Superior Court Judge Robert Schneider's ruling came as new information surfaced about Smith's last days, during which she fell ill, according to sources.
It could take weeks for tests to determine what killed the 39-year-old reality TV star, Playboy playmate and former Guess jeans model. (Watch Smith's improbable journey through life Video)
"We don't have supermen or superwomen working in our office," Perper said.
Smith died Thursday at a South Florida hospital after being discovered unconscious in her hotel room.
Authorities investigating Smith's death retrieved a "large amount" of prescription medicine from her hotel room, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said. The sources did not characterize any of the drugs as illegal.
The prescription drugs were in the name of her lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and included Valium and antibiotics, a law enforcement source said. Over-the-counter drugs, including cold and flu medicines, also reportedly were found.
Smith checked into the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on Monday with Stern.
On Thursday, a private nurse found her charge in bed not breathing and called Smith's bodyguard, then Stern, a law enforcement source said. At 1:38 p.m., the nurse called the front office and hotel security called 911, Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said.
Before rescue workers arrived, Smith's bodyguard performed CPR on her, Tiger said. She was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where she was pronounced dead at 2:49 p.m. (Watch the police chief describe the rescue effort Video)
Late Thursday, police said the hotel room had been cleared, and authorities carried bags of evidence out of the building.
Smith's attorney, Ron Rale, told reporters his client had been suffering from flulike symptoms for the last couple of days. (Watch what might have led to Smith's death Video)
In an interview with The Associated Press, Rale said Smith had been sick for several days with a fever and was still depressed over the September death of her son, Daniel.
Meanwhile, "Entertainment Tonight's" Mark Steines, the last person to interview her, told CNN that Smith had to be placed in an ice bath Tuesday after her fever reached 105 degrees.
Her fever came down, Steines said, but on Wednesday she slipped and fell in the bathtub. When Stern and her nurse went to check on her, "she seemed a little bit out of it" but didn't appear to have suffered any significant injuries, Steines said.
"That led to yesterday," Steines said Friday, "when after taking a nap, I believe, she never came to and never woke up." (Watch how Smith told Steines she was still having nightmares about her son's death Video)
In a statement Thursday, Smith's sister, Donna Hogan, said: "We are saddened and heartbroken by my sister's death. No matter what our differences have been over the years, Anna was still our blood and she will be missed terribly.
"She was a woman who was determined to get out of her small town in Texas and make a name for herself."
Hogan went on to say that the death of Smith's son last year "left her deeply saddened, a sadness she hid from everyone." Dannielynn Hope "is now without a mother," Hogan wrote.
In September, Smith gave birth to Dannielynn Hope in the Bahamas. Her son, Daniel, was found dead in his mother's hospital room three days later.
A life of celebrity and tribulations
Smith was known as much for her sometimes-turbulent life off-camera as she was for her show-business endeavors. (Smith rose to fame after dropping out of school)
The former topless dancer in Houston, Texas, made her first appearance in Playboy in 1992, was named Playmate of the Year in 1993 and appeared in Guess jeans ads and movies.
In 2002, Smith launched a reality television program, "The Anna Nicole Show," on the E! Entertainment network. At one point, it was the network's highest-rated program.
She raised eyebrows in 1994 by marrying 89-year-old Texas oil magnate Howard Marshall II, who had an estate valued at $1.6 billion. He died the next year, and until her death Smith waged a legal battle over the inheritance that included a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. (Watch tributes to the former Playmate Video)
"It's way too early for me to even guess what's going to happen in terms of other claims on behalf of the child," said Rusty Hardin, a Houston attorney who represents the Marshall family.
Earlier this week, Smith was included in a class-action lawsuit against TrimSpa, a company for which she was a spokeswoman in commercials and ads touting her weight loss.
TrimSpa makes a product it claims leads to substantial weight loss. The lawsuit alleges the marketing of the product, TrimSpa X32, was false or misleading. (Full storyexternal link)
In the paternity dispute over Dannielynn Hope, the judge declined to approve a motion requesting emergency DNA collection from Smith's body because DNA samples are routinely collected during autopsies.
Larry Birkhead, an entertainment reporter and photographer who has claimed to be the girl's father, filed an emergency order to obtain DNA samples to determine paternity, said his attorney, Debra Opri.
The judge ordered Smith's body -- which remains in Florida -- be preserved pending a February 20 hearing on a variety of issues, including when DNA samples will be collected from Dannielynn Hope, and when testing will be done to determine the identity of the girl's father.
Birkhead did not attend the Friday hearing because he was too upset about Smith's death, Opri said.
Asked why Smith's DNA was necessary in a paternity dispute, Opri responded, "We do not want a bait and switch of a child." She called it a "legitimate" concern.
Rale, who was in court to oppose the DNA order, called Opri's concerns nonsense.
Smith and Stern have both said that Stern is Dannielynn's father. Stern has said the couple planned to marry, but it was unclear whether they had.