Tatjana Patitz
MUNICH, GERMANY – APRIL 12: Model Tatjana Patitz attends the world premiere of the new coffee machine WMF Perfection at Haus der Kunst on April 12, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images for WMF)

German supermodel Tatjana Patitz has passes away aged 56. A specific cause of death is not known however Associated Press reported overnight that the model died of an “illness” in Santa Barbara.

Patitz was born in Germany and raised in Sweden. She spent much of her professional life in the US where she was widely considered one of the original supermodels alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista. She rose to stardom in 1988 when she was photographed by the world renowned photographer, Peter Lindbergh.

Tatjana Patitz
PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY: Tatjana Patitz walks the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture show as part of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 1992-1993 in January, 1992 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

When news of her death broke overnight the Peter Lindbergh Foundation paid tribute to Patitz on Twitter.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Tatjana Patitz, a long-time friend of Peter’s,” the organisation wrote Wednesday morning US time. “We would like to salute Tatjana’s kindness, inner beauty and outstanding intelligence. Our thoughts go to her loved ones and particularly [her son] Jonah. She will be immensely missed.”

Vogue editor Anna Wintour also shared her condolences. “Tatjana was always the European symbol of chic, like Romy Schneider-meets-Monica Vitti,” the editor said in a statement. “She was far less visible than her peers – more mysterious, more grown-up, more unattainable – and that had its own appeal.”

Tatjana Patitz
BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 27: Tatjana Patitz and her son Jonah Johnson during the “J’adore Parfum d’eau” by Dior launch at Prince Charles on September 27, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images for Dior)

Patitz appeared on magazine covers throughout the ’80s and ’90s, walked the catwalk for luxury fashion houses such as Chanel and Dior, and most famously appeared in George Michael’s celebrity-fuelled “Freedom! ’90” music video.

Patitz went on to give birth to her son Jonah in 2004.