British model Stella Tennant has died just a few days after her 50th birthday. Her family confirmed the tragic news, letting fans know the model passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, December 22.
“It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22nd December 2020,” her family said in a statement. “Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed. Her family ask for their privacy to be respected. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.”
They went on to describe her death as “sudden”, and police said there were “no suspicious circumstances.” Her untimely passing came just five days after her 50th birthday.
Tennant broke into the modeling world in 1993. Starting at the age of 23, she catapulted her career by posing for magazines including French, British, and Italian Vogue along with Harper’s Bazaar.
In the late 90s, Karl Lagerfeld announced Stella as the new face of Chanel with an exclusive modeling contract. She became a muse for the fashion designer, which he attributed to her resemblance to Coco Chanel.
Throughout her illustrious career, Tennant also appeared in numerous advertising campaigns, including Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hermes, and Burberry. She was inducted as Model of the Year in the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame in 2012.
The granddaughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, and Deborah Mitford, she was among the models representing the British fashion industry during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics.
She married French-born photographer David Lasnet in 1999. They had four children together. After becoming pregnant with her first child in 1998, Tennant retired from the catwalk, but later returned.
Versace--one of the many brands represented by Tennant throughout her career--issued a statement following news of her passing, expressing their sadness over the immense loss.
“Versace is mourning the death of #StellaTennant,” the tweet reads. “Stella was Gianni Versace’s muse for many years and friend of the family. We will miss you forever Stella. Rest In Peace.”
Versace is mourning the death of #StellaTennant. Stella was Gianni Versace’s muse for many years and friend of the family. We will miss you forever Stella. Rest In Peace.— VERSACE (@Versace) December 23, 2020
Stella Tennant for Atelier Versace SS 1996, ph. Richard Avedon @Avedonpic.twitter.com/9tZqwMATzn
Outside of her other contributions to the fashion world, she also worked on campaigns to promote using less energy and to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion. In recent years, the model was still reusing clothes she’d owned since the 90s, only buying about five new items a year.
“It‘s going to take us a long time to change our habits, but I think that this is so obviously a step in the right direction,” she told The Guardian last year. “At my age I think it‘s probably quite normal you’re not that interested in consuming, [and not] loving shopping as much as when you’re much younger. We all need to think a little bit harder.”
Rest In Peace, Stella Tennant.