Roy Rochlin/Getty; Darren Gerrish/WireImage
Following news of the model's death on Wednesday morning, the global editorial director of Vogue and Condé Nast's worldwide chief content officer shared a moving tribute about the late star in a statement to PEOPLE.
"Stella was the very definition of original in everything that she did and through everything she stood for," Wintour, 71, says. "She brought her acute intelligence and innate sense of style every time she worked with us; her presence always transcended any quotidien [daily] notion that she was just a model."
"Through her long career in the industry she remained a figure of fascination and inspiration for each new generation, perhaps because of the way she effortlessly stepped in and out of it at her own choosing," she continued. "Stella was a wonderful collaborator and colleague to so many of us over the years, but she was never happier than when she could leave fashion behind, and return to her beloved family and friends, and to a life far away in Scotland."
Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images (3) Stella Tennant's 2019 runway moments (from left): Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen
Tennant's family confirmed her death on Tuesday morning in a statement obtained by The Guardian. She was 50 years old.
"It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on December 22, 2020. Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all," the family shared. "She will be greatly missed. Her family asks for their privacy to be respected. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date."
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Tennant broke into the fashion world in the early '90s and modeled alongside the reigning supermodel squad of the decade including Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer. The runway regular ruled the catwalks for all the high-fashion brands over the past 30 years, including Chanel, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Known for her androgynous look and short pixie hairstyle, Tennant's bold style captured the attention of the late Karl Lagerfeld, who named her a face of Chanel in 1996. That same year, Tennant debuted the head-turning Chanel micro-mini bikini during the label's Haute Couture show, which went on to become a famous look in the pop culture history of runway fashion, referenced by many and worn by Kim Kardashian West, who modeled the look on Instagram over two decades later.
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Shortly after the news of Tennant's death broke, a slew of others who knew the model also paid tribute to her, including British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enniful, who posted a tribute to her on Instagram.
"R.I.P kind and wonderful Stella. My thoughts and prayers are with your family 🕯," he said alongside a Vogue cover graced by Tennant.
The team at Versace also shared a tribute to the late model, writing, "Versace is mourning the death of Stella Tennant. Stella was Gianni Versace’s muse for many years and friend of the family. We will miss you forever Stella. Rest In Peace."
Tennant is survived by her husband David Lasnet, their son Marcel, 22, and daughters Cecily, 19, Jasmine, 18, and Iris, 16.