British supermodel Stella Tennant has died suddenly at the age of 50, her family has confirmed.
Paying tribute, they said in a statement: “It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22 December 2020.
“Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed.”
Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date, they added.
Tennant lived in Duns, a town in the Scottish borders, and died on Tuesday, five days after her 50th birthday.
In a statement, a Police Scotland spokesman said: “Officers were called to an address in Duns around 11.30am on Tuesday 22 December following the sudden death of a 50-year-old woman.
“Her next of kin have been made aware. There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
Tennant’s modelling career started in 1993 at the age of 23, with a shoot for the December issue of British Vogue, and she went on to walk catwalks for designers including Gianni Versace, Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen.
The granddaughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, and Deborah Mitford, she was known as an aristocratic supermodel, and was among the models representing the British fashion industry during the closing ceremony on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics – alongside the likes of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and David Gandy.
She posed for magazines such as French, British and Italian Vogue as well as Harper’s Bazaar several times throughout her career, and most recently graced the cover of British Vogue in December 2018. In tribute, the fashion magazine republished an essay she wrote to accompany her cover, revisiting the portraits that launched her career.
“Few models have had as sizeable an impact on British fashion,” the magazine said.
In the late 1990s, Lagerfeld announced Tennant as the new face of Chanel and she became a muse for the designer, which he attributed to her resemblance to Coco Chanel. She also appeared in numerous advertising campaigns for big fashion brands over the years, including for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hermes, and Burberry.
The New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman was also among those paying tribute, writing on Twitter: “Stella Tennant, the coolest of the aristo-models, has died. I’ll never forget seeing her walk in Helmut Lang shows. She defined off-hand chic.”
In June 2012, Tennant was inducted as Model of the Year in the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame.
She married French-born photographer David Lasnet in the small parish church of Oxnam in the Scottish Borders in 1999, and they had four children together.