Jody "Babydol" Gibson -- a former madam who operated a massive network of prostitutes in Hollywood throughout the '80s and '90s -- has died ... TMZ has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... cops got a call Sunday from a family member and responded to Jody's Yucca Valley home around 11 AM, and she was pronounced dead on the scene. We're told she appears to have died in her sleep, and no foul play is suspected.
Eric Markel, her husband of 12 years, confirmed her death, and told us Jody's death is a bit of a mystery -- he explains she was not battling any known illness, but she had suffered dramatic weight loss of late. He says she'd dropped down to about 87 pounds.
Markel believes it's highly relevant that they were in the middle of a nasty lawsuit regarding the sale of their home -- he told us he thinks she died of "exhaustion" from the turmoil.
Gibson, infamously known as "Sasha of the Valley," did prison time in the early 2000s after being convicted of felony pimping in L.A. -- with prosecutors at the time alleging she ran one of the biggest escort services in town ... something JG herself eventually copped to in books and otherwise. She's said to have had upwards of 300 women working for her.
Babydol was sentenced to 3 years behind bars after going to trial but ended up just doing 2. Her trial had Hollywood buzzing because her black book allegedly listed several big-name celebs -- from sports, politics and entertainment -- as clients.
Her life story is pretty fascinating ... she came to L.A. in the early '80s seeking stardom via a music and modeling career -- with the latter taking off first and becoming her main bread and butter.
Soon, an agency she'd started began turning into an upscale hooking hot spot.
While she was running that biz, Jody had a couple of on-camera appearances ... showing up in a B-movie horror flick called "Evil Laugh," and a guest spot on the talk show "Up All Night." Later, she was featured a handful of times on "Larry King Live," "The Playboy Morning Show" and other one-off variety shows/docs.
Over the course of her life, Jody was not shy about sharing her journey ... and ended up becoming somewhat of a beloved pop culture icon. She was 64.