The details of a former American soap star's sick sex death has shocked his fans.

Michael Louden, who was a regular on daytime soap As The World Turns in the 1980s and 1990s, was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home in September (04), but the shocking facts from the crime scene have just been released.

Louden, 40, was leading a secret double life as a transvestite called TABITHA in the months leading up to his death, and he was fully dressed as a woman - complete with bra, underpants and a red wig - when his landlady found him hanging in his home.

At first, it was assumed Louden had simply committed suicide, but autopsy details obtained by American tabloid the GLOBE show his death was an accident similar to the one that claimed INXS star Michael Hutchence's life.

The autopsy report explains the actor died from "autoerotic asphyxiation" - a method of heightening sexual pleasure by choking.

Investigators found an open laptop with an online chat about choking for sexual kicks displayed when they searched Louden's home.

As well as appearing on As The World Turns, Louden also featured in CLINT EASTWOOD's SPACE COWBOYS movie. He had recently completed work on indie movie Garden Of Eden.

18/11/2004 21:11