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Your e-mails: 'She always managed to be a real person'

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(CNN) -- readers offer a glimpse into the reasons why so many people were captivated by reality TV star and former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith.

Smith died Thursday after being found unconscious in her Florida hotel room.

Since then hundreds of readers have sent in their thoughts, well-wishes and memories of Smith, who spent much of her life at the center of tabloid attention:

Annie Walton of Gratz, Pennsylvania
I've watched Anna's public career and even though I am just a rather normal almost 50-year-old mom, I found myself rooting for her. Certainly she was flashy, the whole billionaire thing was just kind of trashy, but she retained this strange charm that made me like the girl. She came from nothing and nowhere and determined to make something of herself. With questionable grace perhaps, but also with sheer guts and determination -- gotta love that! I'm astonished at how sad I am about her death. I do not think I have ever said this about someone I did not know -- but I will miss her.

Sharon Smith of Talladega, Alabama
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Anna Nicole Smith. It has been said time and time again, there was just something about her. We all were fascinated with her smile, her beauty, and her outlandish behavior. I would hope that during this time, that people would respect her family, and not trash her. She can not dispute what anyone says, and we all should be sad at the loss of a mother to her child.

Allen Pursley of Washington, DC
I believe that the passing of Anna Nicole came as a bit of a surprise to everyone, while she didn't always carry herself in the public spotlight as people expect a celebrity to, she always managed to be a real person (and perhaps that is why no one really knew how to handle her as a person). No one deserved to go through what she went through -- but I feel that she handled it the best way anyone could. Her passing is very sad and unfortunate and there will always be a unique void that will be empty since she is gone.

Deby Marks of Grafton, West Virginia
What will I remember? Her sadness, innocence, and her beauty. She looked sad even before the death of her son. She was more like Marilyn Monroe than she thought. She had that same "lost little girl" look in her eyes. You know the old saying ... the eyes are the mirror to the soul. Like Marilyn, Anna wasn't a dumb blonde either. I hope the press shows her more respect now than they did before.

Clarice Johnson of Morgantown, West Virginia
I will greatly miss her. She was eccentric and fabulous! Beautiful in every way. She was my celebrity guilty pleasure. I hope that her husband and daughter are able to live a long and fulfilling life together. I will miss her so very much.

David Cook of Charlotte, North Carolina
America has lost a "real celebrity." My heart is aching, for her bereaved family, her beloved Howard and all the fans that adored her. I have always been a fan, but when the "Anna Nicole" show was on in 2002, that cemented my love for her. My escape was to watch her show and enjoy laughter through tears. She was a compassionate individual, philanthropist and will always hold a place in my heart and everyone else's life that she touched.

Sheryl Lucas of Phoenix, Arizona
I've always liked Anna despite what others thought of her. I just hoped that one day she would get her life straight, but no one is perfect. She began to grow on me some years ago. I would watch her show and just crack up. Although she didn't always have herself together, I was intrigued by her. She was definitely unique. She was beautiful, funny, clumsy and always made people stop and stare. She never acted like she was above anyone like most celebrities do. I felt so terrible at the loss of her son because she really loved him. She was never able to completely mourn his death due to all the media attention.

Regardless of her shortcomings, she was a mother, a daughter, a friend, a niece, a granddaughter, a cousin.... she was somebody. I am so sorry Anna that you could not live out your life in peace and harmony. May you rest in peace and may the good Lord protect your littlest survivor.

Trace C. of Sacramento, California
She was a gifted soul that wasn't meant for this world. She made us laugh and cry and look at ourselves. She made the mistakes that we all made and wasn't afraid to make them. She was always breathtaking and gave off a light. She was a mother and caring person. You will be missed but not forgotten R.I.P Anna, we you love you dearly.

Bethany Geter of Sarasota, Florida
I'm absolutely shocked! I can't believe Anna is dead! I almost want to cry. I really liked her, she was always gorgeous, and I believe she really loved her husband, at least at some point. She was an inspiration to all overweight women when she lost all of her weight dramatically, and yet the media still disses her on it. May she finally have the peace she deserves. XOX R.I.P. Anna

Maria Shumaker of Coral Gables, Florida
Anna Nicole was a celebrity in her own right. She invented herself just like Marilyn Monroe.

Vanessa Russell of Bloomingburg, New York
Anna Nicole Smith will be missed by a lot of people. How sad that her beautiful baby girl will grow up without her. People judge her and say she was a gold digger. How do they know? How many people could accomplish what she did? From a high school dropout to a Playboy playmate! I think she was beautiful person! Well the only good thing is that she will now be with her beloved son Daniel. R.I.P. Anna!

Cathy Pittard of Garden Grove, California
I enjoyed seeing her beautiful smile, even though I could see her deep pain. She tried hard to keep her spirits up, and kept plugging along. She had many [accomplishments] and her strength through it all helped me to be strong. I will miss her.

Cassie Richards of Edmonton, Canada
The first time I ever lay eyes on Anna Nicole was in 2001 while I was living in the UK. I saw her reality show, and just loved how she just didn't care what anyone thought about her. She was much larger than she has been recently. She had many problems, and I myself have dealt with depression, and could see that she was a very sad and misunderstood lady. All my thoughts and prayers go out to her family and little baby girl. All she wanted at the end was to be left alone, and that's exactly what she did. She left. Alone. She will be with her son now. Bless them both.

Paula Kelley of Kingwood, Texas
I am really feeling sad after hearing about Anna Nicole. She always struck me as a wounded bird that just needed the right chance to heal; it seems that she had a lot of enablers around her for a very long time. She was beautiful and troubled but she was determined and for that I admired her and followed her career. It was obvious that she loved her son and with all her other issues, I guess life was just too much for her to handle. I am so sorry for the loss for all the people that loved her. Anna, you've come along way from Jim's Fried Chicken in Mexia. You did what you wanted to do, you became famous. May you rest in peace finally, Vicki Lynn.


Tom Andrews snapped this photo of Anna Nicole Smith posing for photographers atop a car at a West Hollywood, California, gay pride parade in 2005.


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