Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel left devastated by death of boyfriend Dennis Shields

Businessman found unresponsive in his Trump Tower apartment after overdosing on opioid

Toyin Owoseje
Saturday 11 August 2018 12:11
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Dennis Shields and Bethenny Frankel reflect on how they met

Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel has been left devastated by the death of her boyfriend Dennis Shields, who passed away from an apparent opioid overdose.

Shields was found unresponsive in his apartment on the 42nd floor of Trump Tower around 9.30am on 9 August after overdosing on oxycodone, an addictive opioid he was taking to treat back pain.

According to the New York Times, the 51-year-old businessman collapsed after asking his assistant to buy Narcan - used to reverse opioid overdoses - because he was feeling unwell.

He was pronounced dead at around 10:15 a.m, police said.

Frankel, who dated Shields on an off from 2016, was said to be struggling to come to terms with his sudden death.

“This is really bad. It's dreadful,” an insider told E! News "She's known him for over 20 years. She's heartbroken."

"Bethenny loved him a great deal but it was an unusual relationship," another source told People Magazine. "They were on and off. It was unconventional and not always exclusive. They would be together and then not. Sometimes these traditional relationships aren't the best thing for everybody."

Ambulances attend to two individuals poisoned by opioid substance

"Dennis was a steadying rock for Bethenny. He was very mild-mannered and she is like a force of nature but she needed that in him," the source added.

Ms Frankel had opened up about her relationship with the banker without naming him during a recent interview on the Steve Harvey Show.

“I’ve been with someone on and off for years,” she said. “It’s like a partnership where if we’re not being teammates and it’s not working and one man is down, then the other man is down."

“We’re trying to really kind of be good parents and good teammates and I think relationships oddly are — and this sounds cold — but a bit like business,” she added.

The death of Mr Shields, who was still recovering from a 2015 surgery, comes amid an opioid epidemic ravaging the US. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

In April 2016, music legend Prince died of ‘fentanyl toxicity’ at his Minnesota estate after an accidental overdose of the painkiller, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Prince died from an opioid overdose in April 2016

"What happened to Prince is happening to families across America," lawyers for Prince’s family said in a statement. "The family wishes, through its investigation, to shed light on this epidemic and how to better the fight to save lives. If Prince’s death helps save lives, then all was not lost.”

In July, The New York State Department of Health announced plans to allow doctors to consider medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for patients with severe pain.

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