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TV Producer Jill Blackstone

Cops Think Sister's Death was Suicide Pact

3/21/2015 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0320-jill-blackstone_coleman-rayner_split_dateJill Blackstone, the "Jerry Springer" and "Sally Jessy Raphael" producer who was arrested for allegedly killing her sister, engineered a suicide pact but got cold feet at the last minute ... that's the operating theory of law enforcement.

Our law enforcement sources tell us, they believe Blackstone and her sister Wendy -- who was deaf and partially blind -- made the suicide decision and Jill executed the plan by putting a lit BBQ in their closed garage, which was supposed to fill the air with deadly carbon monoxide gas.

TMZ broke the story, Jill called a friend who called 911, and when paramedics arrived they found Wendy dead and Jill with severe carbon monoxide poisoning. They believe Jill was trying to kill herself along with Wendy but had a change of heart at the very last moment.

And cops believe the 2 dogs that died were part of the plan ... they would all pass together.

As we reported, police arrested Jill for murder but the D.A. sent the case back to the LAPD for further investigation and Jill was released. 

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Twisted Sister Drummer

Dead at 55 ...

Found Unresponsive on Tour Bus

3/20/2015 11:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0320-aj-pero-GETTY-01A.J. Pero -- drummer for the legendary rock band Twisted Sister -- died Friday morning after he was found unresponsive on a tour bus in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was 55.

Jay Jay French, a fellow member of Twisted Sister, tells TMZ ... Pero was touring with the band Adrenaline Mob when he was found on the bus, but would not wake up. The band called 911 and paramedics rushed him to a nearby hospital ... but he didn't make it.

French tells TMZ, "A.J. Pero was a force, the likes of which I doubt I will ever have the chance to play in front of again. His drumming was legendary, but his heart, as a human being, was even greater."

He continued, "In our hearts he will always be the engine that drove the train. I loved him and today my heart has been ripped out. RIP."

'Real World' Star Ryan Knight

Death Ruled Accidental OD

3/18/2015 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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"Real World" star Ryan Knight's death was caused by a deadly mix of multiple drugs and alcohol according to the final autopsy report.

The Kenosha County medical examiner concluded Knight had various drugs in his system, including methadone (a heroin substitute), tramadol (a painkiller), cocaine and Xanax -- mixed with a high level of alcohol.

The medical examiner ruled the death an accidental overdose.

TMZ broke the story ... Knight was found dead and covered in his own vomit in November, after partying hard in Kenosha, WI.

Knight was 29 years old.


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Toto's Mike Porcaro

Dies From ALS at 59

3/15/2015 2:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0315-mike-porcaro-getty-01Toto bassist Mike Porcaro died early this morning after a long battle with ALS ... TMZ has learned.

Porcaro's brother and band mate Steve posted on Facebook that Mike was surrounded by family at home and passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM.

Mike joined the band Toto in 1983 alongside his  brothers Steve and Jeff, but retired in 2007 due to ALS. Mike played bass on some of the bands biggest hits, including ... "Rosanna," "Africa," and "I Won't Hold You Back." 

Porcaro was 59. 

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Wayne Static's Death

Overdosed on Oxy and Booze

3/14/2015 2:17 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0314-wayne-static-facebookWayne Static, frontman for the metal group Static X, OD'd on a mixture of alcohol and a bunch of drugs ... including Oxycodone.

Wayne was found dead in his bed last November ... his wife was in bed with him at the time. The San Bernardino County Coroner's Office says toxicology results showed a fatal combo of prescription meds -- Oxycodone (generic Oxycontin), Hydromorphone, and Alprazolam (generic Xanax) -- along with alcohol.

Right after Wayne's death ... his wife had denied he was abusing any drugs at the time, but admitted he might have been drinking heavily.

The Coroner also said years of chronic drug and booze abuse played a factor.

Pam Anderson

Sam Simon's $800K Gift Enrages Family

She's Banned from Private Funeral

3/14/2015 1:16 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0314-pam-anderson-sam-simonPamela Anderson got a lavish gift from Sam Simon just weeks before he died, and ironically the show of affection is the very thing that has made her persona non grata at his private funeral.

Pam and Sam have been tight for years.  We're told a couple of weeks before the co-creator of "The Simpsons" succumbed to Colon Cancer, he gave her a ring worth around $800,000.

Sources who were close to Sam tell us his family was infuriated and felt Pam took advantage of a weak man and should never have accepted the gift.  

We're told they have specifically decided to exclude her from Tuesday's private service. 

We tried reaching Pam for comment.  So far no word back.

'Miller High Life Guy'

Died From Fatal Blood Clot

3/14/2015 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Windell Middlebrooks Cause Of DeathWindell D. Middlebrooks -- the Miller High Life delivery guy -- died from a pulmonary embolism ... TMZ has learned, but we're told weight was definitely a contributing factor.

Our sources say the autopsy is clear ... Middlebrooks' 400 lbs made him a target for health problems. What's interesting ... his family tells us before his death Middlebrooks was relatively healthy with no significant medical issues.

TMZ broke the story ... 36-year-old Middlebrooks died Monday in his San Fernando Valley home.

We're told Middlebrooks' family is trying to get his body for a burial.

Bruce Beresford-Redman

Convicted of Murdering Wife

3/12/2015 8:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Bruce Beresford-Redman, the former "Survivor" producer who has been in a Mexican jail for 4 years after his wife was found murdered in Mexico, has been found guilty.

A judge in Mexico sentenced Beresford-Redman to 12 years in prison for murdering Monica.  Her body was found in a sewer on the hotel property where the 2 were vacationing.  Authorities say she was strangled.  The 2 were heard arguing shortly before she disappeared.

Beresford-Redman will receive credit for the 4 years he has already served.  His lawyers say they will appeal the conviction.

Sam Simon

Beloved Dog Coping with Death

3/12/2015 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0311_sam_and_culumbo_twitterSam Simon's cherished 3-year-old dog is heartsick over his owner's death, but there's already a new owner who is doing everything he can to ease the blow.

Tyson Kilmer, one of Sam's close friends who is also a dog trainer, tells us shortly after Sam was diagnosed, he called with a request -- love and cherish his Italian mastiff after he died.

Tyson gladly obliged, especially because of his history with Columbo. He trained the pooch for aggression issues when he was a pup. 

Tyson had a plan he put into motion months before Sam died. Columbo spent time at Tyson's home so the permanent move wouldn't be too jarring.  

We're told Columbo is adjusting well, but misses his dad. Kilmer took one of Sam's favorite hooded sweatshirts and laid it on Columbo's bed ... which the dog snuggles up with at night.

Good news ... Columbo has a girlfriend ... a pit bull named Kasha Fierce.

The biggest adjustment for Columbo ... moving from Pacific Palisades to Sherman Oaks ... woof.

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Miller High Life Guy

Dies at 36

3/10/2015 1:02 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0310-windell-middlebrooks-getty-01Windell D. Middlebrooks -- the actor best known for playing the straight-talking Miller High Life delivery man -- died suddenly at his home ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to Middlebrooks tell us he was found unconscious at home in the San Fernando Valley Monday morning -- and was transported by ambulance to a hospital ... where he was pronounced dead.

We're told it does not appear there was any foul play. 

While he was best known for the Miller commercials ... Middlebrooks was also a very successful TV actor with roles on "Cougar Town," "Parks and Rec," "Scrubs," "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," and the "Bernie Mac Show."

He was also a series regular on ABC's "Body Of Proof."

Middlebrooks was 36 years old.

A rep for MillerCoors tells us ... "He connected with people so naturally because he was one of the kindest, most genuine folks around. We will miss him a great deal and he will always hold a special place with us."

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Sam Simon

Packed a Punch As Sparring Partner

... Says Ex-Boxing Champ

3/9/2015 3:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0309-lamon-brewster-sam-simon-GETTY-01Of course Sam Simon is famous for "The Simpsons" and his philanthropy -- but he was also hugely into boxing ... managing former WBO Champ Lamon Brewster, and even stepping in the ring with him!

Brewster was emotional about the loss of his manager and friend when he spoke to TMZ Sports ... telling us, "Sam would spar with me to help me get ready for my fights." That's pretty crazy when you consider Brewster was a beast at 6'2" and 226 pounds!

Brewster says Simon was always a big fan of boxing in general, but after legendary trainer Freddie Roach introduced them -- Simon became his manager from 1999 to 2006.

Simon's guy got the WBO belt in 2004 by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko -- and Simon was right by his side to celebrate in the ring. Brewster says Simon was like a father to him ... who "was always giving me life advice and cracking jokes."

As for Simon's skills in the ring ... Brewster says, "He could hit! He had a good heart, man ... and so down to Earth."

He added, "Sam is now in a great place and I am pretty sure he is up there telling jokes."

'Simpsons' Co-Creator

Dies After Long Battle With Cancer

3/9/2015 11:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0309-sam-simon-getty-01Sam Simon, the co-creator of "The Simpsons" has died ... TMZ has learned.

Simon passed away Sunday at his L.A. home, following a long, difficult battle with colon cancer. Simon was diagnosed in 2012 and was very public that his disease was terminal.

We're told Simon was surrounded by his family when he died, and his dog. The dog was very special in Sam's life ... he was a big animal rights advocate.

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The Sam Simon Foundation tells us, "For those of us who knew him, his voice will forever echo in our minds; his sense of humor will continue to make us laugh; and his compassion and generosity will continue to impact our lives."

Adding, "Sam, you will be missed by many, but there is a particular sadness among our clinic staff. We have been together for so long, and your absence will forever leave a void in our lives."

Hank Azaria, who voices multiple characters on the show, just tweeted, "Rest in peace and thank you for The Simpsons, Sam Simon."

Sam previously announced he would be leaving his nearly $100 million fortune to his various charities.

Simon was 59.

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Corey Feldman

This One Goes Out to Corey Haim

[AUDIO]

3/6/2015 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

It took him 5 years, but Corey Feldman is finally ready to honor his BFF Corey Haim in song -- recording a tribute to him to mark the upcoming anniversary of his death.

The song is called "Remember 222" and will be released March 10th. Haim died in 2010 from pneumonia and a bad heart.

The title refers to Haim's favorite number -- which, as Feldman has pointed out for years ... is eerily similar to his own fave digits ... 22.

Interestingly, the lyrics make reference to the Coreys' drug history: "Made the most of every day ... we altered our reality." It also features dialogue from some of their movies ... like "The Lost Boys," and "Dream a Little Dream." 

It ain't "I'll Be Missing You" ... but it's the thought that counts. 

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