British model Stella Tennant has died at the age of 50, her family has said.
“It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22nd December 2020,” they said in a statement to the PA news agency.
“Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed.”
A police spokesman said there were “no suspicious circumstances” around her death, which came five days after her 50th birthday.
The Scot made her name in the early 1990s, appearing in photoshoots for publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
She appeared on runways for designers including Versace and Alexander McQueen; and in advertising campaigns for fashion brands including Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gautier and Burberry.
She also starred in the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games alongside fellow British models like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
Tennant was known for her androgynous sultry looks and aristocratic heritage, being the granddaughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, and Deborah Mitford.
Before becoming a model, she studied at Winchester School of Art and embarked upon a career in sculpting, which she described as “my first love”.
Her plans soon changed after she was spotted by Vogue photographer Steven Meisel.
In the late 90s, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld unveiled her as the new face of Chanel, noting her resemblance to Coco Chanel.
Away from the catwalk, she worked on campaigns to promote using less energy and to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.
“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.
She said at the time that she was reusing clothes she has had since the 90s and only buying about five new items a 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.”
In 2012, she was inducted into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame.
Tennant retired from the world of fashion in 1998 as she was pregnant with her first child, but later returned on a part-time basis.
She married French-born photographer David Lasnet in the small parish church of Oxnam in the Scottish Borders in 1999. They had four children together in total.
Wednesday’s statement added: “Her family ask for their privacy to be respected. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.”