Usher's pre-MTV Awards boat party was blighted by tragedy when a crew member drowned. Craig Rochel, 34, went diving on Friday night (27.08.04) while the R'n'B star celebrated aboard a luxury yacht hired by his mother, Jonnetta Paton, for a 'Welcome to Miami' party in her son's honour. However, Rochel failed to surface from the diving expedition and his body was found washed up on the shore about 100 yards from the boat, on which he lived and worked, on Saturday afternoon (28.08.04). Usher claimed after the MTV Awards on Sunday night (29.08.04) he had no knowledge of the crew member's tragic death and added: "I'm not responsible." The singer - who picked up two prizes - went on to celebrate in style at his after-show bash, held at the swanky Shore Club, with a host of star guests. Christina Aguilera, supermodel Naomi Campbell, 'Newlyweds' stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, movie heartthrob Owen Wilson and rapper Lil' Kim all partied at the lavish event, which included live panthers being led around on diamond leads. Other stars to throw after-show parties included Puff Daddy, who invited the public to his bash at Mansion, and singing siblings Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, whose party at the Privee club ended in disaster when rioting fans outside were pepper-sprayed by police.

tagged in