Smith was 'drugged up' at death

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Anna Nicole Smith, the 39-year-old model and billionaire oil tycoon's widow who died this week, was "drugged up" and almost certainly high on either illegal narcotics or prescription drugs when she collapsed in a Florida hotel room, police and family members suggested last night.

Smith's mother, Vergie Arthur, told a television show she had tried to warn her daughter about her drug intake, especially in the wake of the death of her 20-year-old son Daniel from an overdose last September.

"She was too drugged up," Arthur told Good Morning America. " I tried to warn her about drugs and the people that she hung around with. She didn't listen ... By the last interview I saw of her, she was so wasted."

Several US news outlets, citing police sources, reported evidence of drugs ­ both licit and illicit ­ in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino north of Miami. A preliminary report from the coroner's office did not find immediate evidence of illegal drugs in her system but a full toxicology investigation will take weeks to complete.

Smith was reported to have felt ill when she checked in to the hotel on Monday. Local police said she was travelling with a nurse and bodyguard, as well her lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern.

Her death does nothing to resolve the multiple lawsuits she was embroiled in ­ almost all of them stemming from her brief marriage to the octogenarian Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in the 1990s and her long-running fight with the Marshall family for a piece of his fortune.

If anything, her passing will now intensify the paternity battle pitting Mr Stern, who is listed on the birth certificate as the father, against Smith's previous boyfriend, the photographer Larry Birkhead.

A third man, Zsa Zsa Gabor's former husband Prince Frederick von Anhalt, also came forward last night to claim paternity of baby Dannielynn, who will now be the beneficiary of any legal settlement with the Marshall family.

The courts in California awarded Smith $89m (£45m) but the sum continues to be litigated. The Marshall family member who fought hardest to keep Smith from getting a dime from her former husband, Pierce Marshall, died last summer