German Supermodel Tatjana Patitz Dies of Metastatic Breast Cancer
Iconic German supermodel Tatjana Patitz died on Jan. 11 at age 56. A representative for her family confirmed the cause of death was metastatic breast cancer.
"Needless to say, we are all devastated by her passing," agent Corinne Nicolas, of the Model CoOp agency, said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "She was a compassionate soul, kind and generous of heart, and an avid advocate of animal rights."
Patitz, born in 1966 in Germany, rose to fame in the 1990s as one of the "original supermodels." Patitz appeared in photographer Peter Lindbergh's 1988 photo titled, "White Shirts: Six Supermodels, Malibu," as well as his memorable British Vogue January 1990 cover photo that included fellow modeling icons Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. Patitz and the other supermodels starred in the music video for George Michael's song "Freedom! '90."
Following news of her death, Patitz's colleagues and fans flooded social media with tributes to the late model.
"Tatjana embodied, to me, European sophistication and style when I met her," Turlington wrote in an Instagram post. "You are unforgettable and are forever in my heart."
"I found her soft-spoken, sensitive, kind, inquisitive and who could ever forget those piercing eyes," Crawford said on Instagram. "Her love of animals and nature was infectious. Sending my condolences to her family—especially the son she adored. RIP."
Patitz is survived by her 18-year-old son, Jonah.
About metastatic breast cancer
Patitz's cause of death, metastatic breast cancer—also known as stage IV breast cancer—is breast cancer that has spread or metastasized to other parts of the body. The most common places for breast cancer to metastasize are the bones, lungs, brain and liver, according to BreastCancer.org.
Most often, metastatic breast cancer develops in someone who has been previously treated for an earlier stage or nonmetastatic breast cancer. Metastatic recurrence can happen at any time after someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, even several decades later.
Although a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis is serious, it is not a death sentence. In many cases, treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation therapy can shrink tumors, slow tumor growth, minimize symptoms and help some patients live longer, according to the American Cancer Society.
To prevent metastatic breast cancer, early detection is critical. Routine image screenings such as mammograms can help detect breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence before it has metastasized enough to cause any outward signs or symptoms. If you notice any lumps or suspicious symptoms that might indicate breast cancer, don't delay seeing your doctor. When it comes to cancer, every day counts.