LONG ISLAND, NY — Barbara Smith, the model turned restaurateur and author died at her home on Long Island on Saturday after struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Dan Gasby, Smith’s husband, announced on Facebook that she had “died peacefully.”
“Thank you to all the friends and fans who supported B. and our family during her journey. Thank you to everyone for respecting our privacy during this agonizing time,” Gasby wrote in the Facebook post.
Smith, 70, began her career as a model in New York in the 1960s, and became one of the first African-American women on Mademoiselle’s cover in 1976. She transitioned her modeling career into a successful career in television, in which she served as a spokesperson for Verizon, Colgate Palmolive Oxy and McCormick’s Lawry.
Smith, who lived in East Hampton and owned a restaurant in Sag Harbor until 2014, went on to use her lifestyle knowledge to write multiple books on cooking and entertaining, and also hosted her own weekly television show on NBC, “B. Smith with Style.” Additionally, Smith had a line of home goods that were sold in Bed, Beth & Beyond, which according to her website, made it the first line by an African-American woman to be sold at a nationwide retailer.
Smith was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013 at the age of 64.
The lifestyle guru had become committed to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s after her diagnosis, especially within the African American community.