Die Geschichte füllt seit Tagen Albanische ´Zeitungen, aber jetzt bringt sie CNN

An Kohlen Monoxid Vergiftung ist die gestorben.

Albanian pop singer found dead
Anita Bitri Prapaniku had moved to U.S. in search of stardom

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 Posted: 5:58 PM EDT (2158 GMT)

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NEW YORK (AP) -- An Albanian pop singer who moved to the United States in search of stardom was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday along with her mother and 7-year-old daughter.

The vents on a boiler in the woman's basement had been stuffed with plastic bags apparently intended to keep concrete out during recent construction on the home, said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the New York Department of Buildings.

"It's a very tragic accident." Fink said.

The names of the child and two women, ages 60 and 36, were not immediately released. But friends of the 36-year-old woman identified her as Anita Bitri Prapaniku, a singer-songwriter who was well-known in her native country.

"She was an amazing pop sensation in Albania," said her record producer, James Avatar.

Prapaniku's husband had recently died of cancer, friends said. Her own death came while she and Avatar were busy recording two CDs -- one in Albanian and one in English -- at his Brooklyn studio.

The singer, who arrived in the United States about 10 years ago, "wanted the American Dream," Avatar said. "She loved Aretha Franklin and the big American divas."

Prapaniku was known for singing marathon sets at clubs, restaurants and ethnic events.

A musician who had performed with her, Maksim Vathi, rushed to her home after hearing about the deaths. "I'm still in shock," he said. "I can't believe it. I feel really sorry."

Police said a friend of the family called 911 after discovering the bodies in a second-floor bedroom of the Staten Island home. Firefighters found extremely high levels of carbon monoxide inside the home.

The family died less than two weeks before a new city law goes into effect requiring most homes to have carbon monoxide detectors installed within 15 feet of sleeping areas.