Paula Yates found dead at her London home

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She was seen as the ultimate rock'n'roll groupie. She'd had a pop star husband, a rock star lover, the exotically named children, the joy and despair in heavy measure, and all of it lived within the public view.

She was seen as the ultimate rock'n'roll groupie. She'd had a pop star husband, a rock star lover, the exotically named children, the joy and despair in heavy measure, and all of it lived within the public view.

Yesterday Paula Yates seemed to have died a rock'n'roll death - discovered in her bed, apparently having fallen victim to the pills and alcohol that had become too central a part of her life. And one of the most tragic things about it was that no one was that surprised.

Ms Yates, former wife of Bob Geldof, partner of the late Michael Hutchence and a devoted mother-of-four, was found at about 10.15am yesterday by a friend who called at her house in Notting Hill, west London.

It was reported that her daughter Tiger Lily was in the flat and had discovered Yates slumped in her bed. An ambulance crew was called to the mews property but the 41-year-old was later pronounced dead at the scene. Police said it appeared she had been in bed all night and that there were no signs of violence. A post-mortem examination will take place today, though there were reports yesterday that she may have been sick and choked after having consumed pills and alcohol.

Ms Yates, who had three children by Geldof and one by Hutchence, shot to celebrity in the 1970s when she met Geldof, then lead singer of the Boomtown Rats. She presented the rock show The Tube, then moved to The Big Breakfast, where she interviewed celebrities on a giant bed. One was Michael Hutchence, singer with INXS. She soon started an affair with him, having his daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, and divorcing Geldof.

It was the death in 1997 of Hutchence that put Ms Yates into a downward spiral.

After his body was found hanging in a Sydney hotel room - possibly a suicide, possibly a sexual experiment gone wrong - Ms Yates said she felt "flung to the dogs".

Earlier that year she had learnt that the television presenter Hughie Green, and not Jess Yates, the host of the religious series Stars on Sunday, was her biological father. In the following months, Ms Yates entered a series of clinics for treatment for depression, and in 1998 tried to kill herself.

Neighbours of Ms Yates described how she had apparently been unable to beat her demons. Zahid Shafi, owner of the A & K Food and Wine store, close to her home, said Ms Yates would come into his convenience store up to seven times a day and buy miniature bottles of vodka. She had been in on Saturday night. "I always thought it was very strange that she would only buy miniature bottles - never the big ones," he said. "She would come in five, six or even seven times a day. So we got to know her quite well."

Geldof said: "We are all so sad. The loss for all the children is insupportable. It doesn't require much imagination to understand the pain. Please do nothing to add to that. Leave them with their loss and Paula with her dignity."

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