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Famed Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion designer behind the iconic Chanel label, has died at the age of 85. 

The German-born designer died Tuesday following a bout of illness at the American Hospital of Paris, Closer first reported. The specific cause of death was not reported.

“An extraordinary creative individual, Lagerfeld reinvented the brand’s codes created by Gabrielle Chanel: the Chanel jacket and suit, the little black dress, the precious tweeds, the two-tone shoes, the quilted handbags, the pearls and costume jewelry,” Chanel said in a statement confirming his death. 

Lagerfeld did not appear at the end of Chanel's spring-summer 2019 show in Paris on January 22, sparking rumors of his ill health.

"For the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr. Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired, asked Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, to represent him and greet the guests alongside the bride," Chanel explained in a previously released statement.

He had been the creative director of Chanel enterprise since 1983. One of the most prolific and recognizable names in fashion, Lagerfeld was also the creative director of fashion house Fendi and designed collections for his own eponymous label. He is estimated to have had a net worth of between $200-250 million.

As well as his designs, Lagerfeld was known for always sporting his signature black sunglasses and gloves. “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that," he famously once said of his look. “It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”

Supermodel Iman Abdulmajid was one of those in the fashion industry to pay tribute to the 85-year-old, tweeting that his death marked the “end of an era.”

Italian designer Donatella Versace said in a statement on Instagram: “Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you.”

Lagerfeld—also known as “Kaiser Karl"—was born in 1933 in Hamburg, Germany, before moving to France as a teenager. His career spanned seven decades, after he started as an assistant to French designer Pierre Balmain in the early 1950s.

“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world,” Chanel's CEO Alain Wertheimer said in a statement. “Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand." 

Karl Lagerfeld Karl Lagerfeld attends the Dior Menswear Fall/Winter 2016/2017 fashion show at Tennis Club de Paris on January 23, 2016 in Paris. He died Tuesday morning at the age of 85. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

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