Former fashion model Paulina Porizkova, 57, posted a touching tribute to Tatjana Patitz, who passed away on January 11 at the age of 56.
Tatjana’s agent Corinne Nicolas told PEOPLE that the supermodel died of breast cancer and was survived by her son, her sister, and her parents, who were all devastated by her passing. “She was compassionate soul, kind and generous of heart and an avid advocate of animal rights,” the statement read. “One of the major causes she supported was the conservation of wild horses.”
Tatjana appeared on the covers of some of the most iconic magazines in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was cast by George Michael in his “Freedom ‘90” music video. She appeared on the cover of Vogue six times and walked the runway at almost too many fashion shows to count.
Many in the industry have taken to social media to share their condolences for her passing, including Paulina Porizkova, a Czech-born model who became the first Central European woman to appear on the cover of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine in 1984.
Paulina Porizkova Recalls Meeting Tatjana Patitz: ‘Death Sucks And It Isn’t Fair’
In a lengthy Instagram post on Thursday morning, the “No Filter” author took the time to remember Tatjana with a throwback snap and recounted a time that they had met at a party in Vienna.
“Tatjana burst into the fashion world just as I was slowly pulling away, so I didn’t have much opportunity to get to know her,” Paulina explained. “I had heard she was born in East Germany and raised in Sweden, a story so much like my own I thought we’d form an instant bond when we met.”
“We did a few jobs together, a few shows, but I may have been a bit of an arrogant a–hole, and I found her to be polite, but somewhat distant,” she confessed, before adding, “Forward almost thirty years. I had been invited to the LIVE Ball gala event in Vienna for a weekend, along with a few other models and celebrities, one of whom was Tatjana.”
“After a long day of interviews and walking the runway, Tatjana and I ended up at the afterparty in a club, sitting next to each other. We started to talk- and didn’t end talking until the sun rose and we stumbled back to our hotels in our high heels and smeared makeup,” she explained.
“I told her of my failing marriage. She told me of her failed loves. We spoke of our children, our insecurities, our hopes. We cried some and laughed a lot,” Paulina recalled. “I got to know this beautiful woman, get a sense of her fragility and her full heart. Her love for animals, her horses and dogs, nature and art, (yes, she painted) and most of all the love for her little son.”
“It was an in-depth dive into our souls from which I walked away filled with genuine affection, tenderness and respect for her,” she concluded. “My heart goes out to her family, her son, her friends and those who loved her. Death sucks and it isn’t fair.”
She added “This is a photo of that night” at the bottom of the post and tagged some of the other famous faces in the shot, including @mirosimonic, @kierachaplin, @terezamaxova, and @karolinakurkova.
Paulina Porizkova Wasn’t The Only One Who Paid Tribute To Tatjana
“So sad to hear of the passing of the beautiful @tatjanapatitz,” she wrote. “We were babies together in the fashion industry and I feel like we grew up together. We were in so many shoots together and backstage at shows.”
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“I found her soft-spoken, sensitive, kind, inquisitive and, who could ever forget those piercing eyes. Her love of animals and nature was infectious,” she concluded. “Sending my condolences to her family — especially the son she adored. RIP.”
Many fans and famous friends also took to Instagram to share their condolences for her passing. Actor Paul Johansson commented, “Such a tragic loss. Your beautiful words are a lovely tribute to your friendship.”