Christine Keeler of U.K.'s Profumo scandal dies at 75

Christine Keeler, British model and call girl, appears in court on June 27, 1963, in London, accused of living off immoral earnings and to having a relationship with Dr Stephen Ward, osteopath and artist seen as the ringmaster of the sex and security circus. It was at Ward's county cottage on Lord Astor's Clivelend estate that the Secretary of State of War, John Profumo, first saw Christine Keeler, 21. Keeler was also having a liaison with Soviet naval attache Eugene Ivanov. Profumo was obliged to resign from the government in June 1963.

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LONDON -- Christine Keeler, the central figure in the sex-and-espionage Profumo scandal that rocked Cold War Britain, has died at 75.

Her son, Seymour Platt, posted on Facebook that Keeler died Monday at a hospital near Farnborough in southern England.

Platt said on Facebook that his mother died late Monday night after suffering for several years from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

"As many of you know my mother, Christine Keeler, fought many fights in her eventful life, some fights she lost but some she won," he said. "She earned her place in British history but at a huge personal price. We are all very proud of who she was."

Keeler was a model and nightclub dancer in 1963 when she had an affair with British War Secretary John Profumo.

(FILES): This file picture taken in the

A file picture taken in the 1960's of former British War State Secretary John Profumo and his wife Valerie Hobson at the time when he was at the centre of a Cold War sex and spying scandal that cost him his political career.

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When it emerged that Keeler had also slept with a Soviet naval attache with ties to Russian intelligence, the collision of sex, wealth and national security issues caused a sensation and helped topple the Conservative government.

Profumo eventually resigned in disgrace after lying to the House of Commons about his relationship with Keeler. He threatened at the time to sue anyone who suggested there had been any inappropriate behavior with her.

The stunning sex scandal shed light on a previously well-hidden world of sex and alcohol fueled orgies among the political elite.

The scandal also made Keeler famous. A naked photo of Keeler straddling the back of a chair is among the most famous U.K. images of the 1960s. She spent the rest of her life trying to escape her unwanted notoriety.

Born in 1942, Keeler left school at 15 and shortly after started working as a showgirl on Greek Street in the heart of London's Soho district, known at the time for its strip clubs and sleazy entertainment.

Keeler met men like Profumo after befriending a high-society osteopath, Dr. Stephen Ward, who introduced her to a number of powerful figures.

Ward was put on trial and took a fatal overdose the night before he was convicted of living off immoral earnings.

Keeler was imprisoned for nine months after admitting perjury and conspiring to obstruct justice.

More than two decades later, she expressed regret: "I was just a 19-year-old girl having a good time. I loved every minute of it. But if I had known then what was going to happen, I'd have run off and not stopped until I had reached my mum."

Keeler moved on after the scandal. She was married twice and had two sons, even as pop culture breathed new life into the Profumo affair.

In 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical "Stephen Ward" - in which Keeler was portrayed by Charlotte Spencer - premiered in London.