The life of Anna Nicole Smith was marked both by extraordinary celebrity and frequent controversy.
Tabloids closely followed the life of the Texas-born model
A one-time Playmate of the Year, Smith was a successful model, occasional actress and star of her own reality TV show.
But it was her personal life that brought her attention - her marriage at 26 to octogenarian millionaire J Howard Marshall, the subsequent battle for his fortune and her later struggles with weight and tragedy.
Born Vicki Lynn Hogan in Texas, Smith dropped out of school early and at 17 married her first husband, Billy Wayne Smith.
The couple had a son but divorced after two years, at which point Smith moved to Houston to work in a topless bar.
There her career as a glamour model began to take off, with an appearance on the cover of Playboy in 1992.
In 1993 she became the magazine's Playmate of the Year and fronted a jeans advertising campaign, later breaking into movies with a role in the spoof Naked Gun 33 1/3.
It was around that time that she met Marshall, the 89-year-old oil tycoon who in 1994 became her second husband.
Their marriage generated enormous media interest, with Smith cast both as cynical gold-digger and ditzy blonde.
Marshall died 14 months after they married and Smith spent several years battling his family over her late husband's fortune, a battle unresolved at the time of her death.
In 2002 she appeared in her own reality TV show and later went on to become the spokeswoman for diet supplement TrimSpa, after a well-charted struggle with her weight.
But she was hit by tragedy in September 2006 when her 20-year-old son Daniel died just a few days after she gave birth to her infant daughter.
Smith then became embroiled in a legal dispute over the paternity of her baby daughter.
Her death in a Florida hotel at the age of 39 comes as the final twist in a colourful life played out in the tabloid media.