(AP) — Ivana Trump, a skier-turned-businesswoman who formed half of a publicity power couple in the 1980s as the first wife of former President Donald Trump and mother of his oldest children, has died in New York City, her family announced Thursday. She was 73.
The former president posted on his social media app that she died at her Manhattan home.
“She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,” he wrote on Truth Social. The couple shared three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
“She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her,” he wrote. “Rest In Peace, Ivana!”
Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that police are investigating whether Ivana Trump fell down the stairs and believe her death was accidental.
She was found unconscious near a staircase in the home, the people said. The people could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The medical examiner’s office will determine an official cause of death.
“It’s been a very sad day, a very sad day,” Eric Trump said as he left his mother’s home near Central Park.
In a statement, he and his siblings called her “an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty and caring mother and friend.”
“She fled from communism and embraced this country,” the three said. “She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination.”
Ivanka Trump posted childhood photos of herself laughing and smiling with her mother, who she described as “brilliant, charming, passionate and wickedly funny.”
A Czech-born ski racer and sometime model, she met the future president in the 1970s and quickly perceived him as “smart and funny — an all-America good guy,” as she wrote in a 2017 book. The couple married in 1977.
She became an icon in her own right, dripping with ’80s style and glamor, complete with her signature blonde updo. She influenced the look of the over-the-top Patsy Stone in the classic British sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous,” with the character extolling Ivana as “tremendous” in one episode.
Trump herself would eventually appear in the 1996 hit film “The First Wives Club” with the now-famous line, “Ladies, you have to be strong and independent, and remember, don’t get mad, get everything.”
The Trumps became partners in love and business. She managed one of his Atlantic City casinos and helped make Trump Tower an image of ’80s success (or excess, to some).
She overruled the architects to get a 60-foot waterfall installed in Trump Tower’s atrium, and she went to an Italian quarry to pick out the rosy-beige Breccia Pernice marble that famously lines its floors and walls, according to a biography of Donald Trump by Wayne Barrett.