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The Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York spokesperson told E! News in a statement, “The medical examiner’s office is investigating the death of a man believed to be Dennis Shields, found at the Trump Tower. The investigation is ongoing, and we will release cause and manner of death when completed.”
According to the New York Post and TMZ, Shields had suffered an apparent overdose. The outlets reported that his assistant had administered Narcan, used to reverse opioid overdoses, but was unable to revive him.
A New York Police Department spokesperson told People that “preliminarily,” they are investigating the death “as a possible overdose.”
Frankel is “heartbroken” about Shields’ death, a source told E! News, adding, “This is really bad. It’s dreadful. She’s known him for over 20 years. She’s heartbroken.”
Her former Real Housewives co-star Carole Radziwill tweeted, “I just heard the sad news about Dennis. He was a good man. My condolences to all his family and friends. So tragic.”
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Frankel, who has a daughter from a past marriage, and Shields, CEO of the pre-settlement funding company LawCash, dated on and off since late 2015 or early 2016.
His estranged wife Jill Schwartzberg Shields said in a statement to E! News, “Dennis’ family is devastated by this terrible news. He was a loving father and friend. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this time of loss.”
In January, Frankel said she was single. In May, she told told Steve Harvey on his talk show, “I’ve been with someone on and off for years. It’s like a partnership where if we’re not being teammates and it’s not working and one man is down, then the other man is down,” according to People.
She did not identify Shields by name.
“We’re trying to really kind of be good partners and be good teammates and I think relationships oddly are—and this sounds cold—but a little bit like business,” she said. “If both people aren’t happy about it but slightly uncomfortable and giving up something or giving in [to] something, it doesn’t work. So both partners have to say, ‘All right, I’m in it for this.'”
—Reporting by Amanda Williams