By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Paul McCartney's publicist yesterday denied reports that the former Beatle's wife, Linda, had an assisted suicide, but he admitted she did not die in Santa Barbara, Calif.
In his statement released to British media yesterday, publicist Geoff Baker strongly denied the suicide rumors.
"For whatever reason, there have been unfounded reports that Linda had been assisted in her death. This is not true," Baker said.
"Linda's doctor was Larry Norton of the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York. If need be, Dr. Norton will confirm that Linda died naturally."
Dr. Norton, an oncologist, said in a statement issued by Sloan-Kettering Hospital yesterday: "(Linda McCartney) died of natural causes of metastic breast cancer."
Baker said Linda McCartney died in a location that wasn't disclosed so that her family could return to England "in peace and in private."
"When Linda died last Friday with her family around her it was in a place that was private to her and her family," Baker said. "The family hopes that they can maintain this one private place that they have in the world."
People magazine reported on its Web site yesterday that the 56-year-old Mrs. McCartney died at the family's ranch in Tucson, Ariz. The U.S.-born wife of the legendary rock star had been suffering from breast cancer, which had spread to her liver.
The family statement Sunday announcing her death did not specify where McCartney died, saying only that the family had been on vacation in Santa Barbara.
"Everyone has always assumed that it was Santa Barbara, California," Baker said.
The Santa Barbara County sheriff's department yesterday said it has launched an investigation into McCartney's death, because no death certificate had been filed for her.
Baker said that Santa Barbara was named as the place of death for the sake of the family.
"In an effort to allow the family time to get back to England in peace and in private it was stated that she had died in Santa Barbara," he said.
The McCartneys bought a ranch east of Tucson, near Redington Pass, in 1979, and were known to use it with some frequency as a low-profile getaway.
Pima County and state officials said death certificates are exempt from Arizona's public records law and cannot be disclosed.
The daughter of an entertainment lawyer, Linda Eastman was already acclaimed for her moody, gritty photographs when she married McCartney in London in 1969. She met McCartney at the launch of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in May 1967.
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