Smith’s husband Dan Gasby announced her passing on Sunday in a message shared to social media.
“It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith,” he wrote. “B died peacefully Saturday 22 February 2020 at 10.50pm, of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in our home in Long Island, New York. She was 70.”
Gasby also expressed his gratitude to everyone who’d supported his late wife “during her journey”.
“Thank you to all the friends and fans who supported B and our family during her journey,” he wrote. “Thank you to everyone for respecting our privacy during this agonising time.”
Smith, who first made a name for herself as a model in the 1970s, eventually becoming one of the most recognisable black cover models, later became a well-known restaurateur, lifestyle maven and TV host.
She was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013, before closing her New York restaurants the following year.
Following the news of Smith’s death, fans and fellow celebrities have expressed their condolences over her passing.
“We lost legendary fashion model, chef, restaurateur, lifestyle icon and magazine publisher, B Smith today,” Al Roker wrote on Twitter. “70 years old, she and her husband, Dan Gasby were at the forefront of #alzheimers #research for people of colour. Love to them and daughter, Dana.”
Dr Oz wrote: “RIP B Smith. My thoughts & prayers are with her family. B was special to many people - I’m honoured to have spent time with her. B’s fight with Alzheimer’s was one far too many face, but she approached it with a spirit that made her light shine bright.”
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