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Hollywood Publicist Behind 'Worst Dressed List' Chokes to Death at Gelson's Deli Counter

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Photo of Michael Sands via Twitter
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Michael Sands, a Hollywood publicist whose big claim to fame was coming up with the idea for Mr. Blackwell's "Worst Dressed List," died after choking to death at Gelson's Deli Counter in Century City.Sands was trying a beef sample at the deli counter on March 24 when he began to choke, his son Nick told TheWrap. Sands' son said he had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which means he has unusually narrow airways.

People at the scene tried the Heimlich maneuver on him several times but he was declared clinically dead in five minutes. Sands was revived by paramedics and rushed to Cedars-Sinai, where he was placed in an induced coma. He died on April 6 at age 66, TheWrap reported.

Sands' client list included Ronald Reagan's son Michael, actress Kristy Swanson, Kevin Federline, as well as high-profile plastic surgeons, defense attorneys and Hollywood private eyes. He was best known for being the brains behind Mr. Blackwell's "Worst Dressed List".

The guy was definitely a pro at drumming up publicity: he posed partially nude once in People to promote his line of cheesecakes and he claimed to be an undercover CIA operative who helped to capture Abu Abbas, a terrorist who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985. TheWrap has more details about Sands' bizarre life and death.