Paris is no longer burning for Paris.

The made-for-the-tabloids romance of Paris Hilton and Paris Latsis has flamed out.

Following weeks of speculation that their relationship was on the fritz, Hilton gave a brief statement to Us Weekly Friday announcing she and Latsis have scuttled wedding plans.

"I'm sad to announce that I've called off my engagement. Over the last couple months, I've realized that this is the right decision for me. We remain best of friends, and I'll always love him," she said. "I hope people will respect my privacy during this emotional time."

The celebutante issued a lengthier statement through spokesman Elliot Mintz, claiming she simply "wasn't ready" for marriage.

"I have seen the breakups between people who love each other and rush into getting married too quickly, and I do not want to make that mistake," Hilton said.

"I'm still young and have a very active career that I'm not prepared to give up. I've worked very hard to get to where I am. Paris is a great guy, and we will handle this with dignity and respect.

"I love Paris. He is my best friend, and it will be that way forever. This man treated me as no man ever has. We will also be business partners and have movies in the works," she said.

The generally publicity-shy Latsis released his own brief statement via Mintz, saying he too still loved his former fiancée, calling her "the most incredible woman I have ever met in my life."

"I respect her decision and appreciate the very kind and generous manner in which she is handling her very difficult decision," Latsis said. "This was the best experience of my life and I will always be grateful for it."

The hotel heiress, 24, and the Greek shipping heir, 26, hooked up late last year. By May, they were happily engaged, with Hilton even contemplating giving up her public life and vowing to "retire" to start a family with same-named beau.

"I'm so in love and grateful to have found such an honest and loyal person," the heiress crowed to Us Weekly shortly after their betrothal. "I feel like we were meant to be, and I'm happy to have found someone to spend the rest of my life with."

To People she said, "I want to have kids in the next two years, because I know that completes your life."

The couple jetted off to Greece to scout wedding locations earlier this summer. But after their return, she was spotted sans her 24-carat, $5 million engagement ring, sparking talk that there was trouble in paradise.

The rumor mill went into overdrive last week, when Latsis' father, Grigoris Kasidokostas, was quoted in Star magazine saying, "There does seem to be some problem [between them]. I understand that they are not as close as they used to be.

"Both his mother and I agree that our son is far too young to contemplate marriage and children. Our son agreed with us. There was unanimity on this issue."

At the time, Hilton denied any problems.

News of the split could throw a monkey wrench in Fox's plans for a new season of The Simple Life. With Hilton already on the outs with costar Nicole Richie, Fox had been toying with the idea of separately following Hilton and Richie and they planned their weddings. (Richie's union with Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM, is still a go.) Fox has declined to comment on the show's future.

To keep her mind off the breakup, Hilton will continue to work with producer Scott Storch on her long-delayed album for Warner Bros. She also has two films in the pipeline, National Lampoon's Pledge This!, due out this year, and Bottom's Up, coming in 2006.

(Updated Oct. 4, 2005 at 8:15 a.m. PT.)

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