Models pay tribute to Casablancas

A host of stars have paid tribute following the death of Elite Model Management founder John Casablancas.

The businessman passed away in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer, WWD reports.

John was widely credited for creating the iconic group of supermodels in the '80s and early '90s, including Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Gisele Bündchen.

Models including Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio remembered the fashion industry icon on Twitter.

"@TheSocietyNYC Just found out sad news on the passing of John Casablanca. My thoughts and prayers are to Aline [Wermelinger - wife] and family (sic)," Adriana posted, while Alessandra wrote: "Sad Day! Rest in peace John Casablancas! Thank you for all! Dia triste! Descanse em paz John! Obrigada por tudo!! (sic)."

John is survived by his wife, Aline and five children from two marriages: John Jr., Fernando Augusto, Nina, Cecile and The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.

Statements were released from the modelling agencies and his former assistant Lorraine Caggiano following news of his death.

"Elite World and The Society Management [a division of Elite World] are deeply saddened [by] Mr. John Casablancas' passing," Stefania Valenti, chief executive officer of Elite World, told WWD . "As a man of extraordinary talent, Mr. Casablancas was instrumental in formulating the global success of the Elite brand. His vision changed the model management concept, driving the careers of iconic top models."

Lorraine also gushed about her former boss' talents in the industry.

"He had a charisma that people were drawn to. You felt like you were the only person in the room when he spoke to you," she said in a statement.

John hinted at the secret of his success in a video interview with Modelinia in 2010.

“I had the understanding of a guy who loved beautiful women, and above all who liked the sensuality of it all,” he said. “All of the other agents were either women or gay guys. They had their own approach, which in certain instances was probably superior to mine, but I had something I thought was unique. I looked at my models as women.”

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