STELLA Tennant feared coronavirus would end her career, a neighbour revealed after her shock death just days before Christmas.
The model's sudden death at 50-years-old came months after she separated with her husband, photographer David Lasnet.
In a previous 2011 interview with The New York Times he had told how the pair's marriage was successful because they wanted to "make it work".
But it was revealed in August this year the pair had separated after two decades together.
Neighbours told of their shock at the split, with one telling the MailOnline: "She was well liked, warm and friendly. The very opposite of a social butterfly, quite unstarry, and all the more popular in the community for it.
"I saw her recently out on her horse, and we had a good chat. She seemed well, but did say she was very worried about [the impact of] Covid [on fashion] because she thought it might mean she never worked again.
"She said that by the time people were allowed to travel again and the catwalk shows re-started, she would be regarded as too old. But that was the only thing that gave the impression she wasn’t completely happy."
Stella and Lasnet met when he was hired as a set assistant after turning down a modelling offer form Mario Testino.
He credited her with helping him through mental health issues, saying: "Stella really lifted me out of it without knowing.
"She came from a completely different background and was super-supportive of me always. From then on, everything got better."
They married in 1999 at the local church in Stella's hometown – Oxnam, Scotland – and had four children together, Marcel, Cecily, Jasmine and Iris.
'SHE WAS WORRIED'
Stella's family confirmed yesterday she had died, with the fashion world mourning her loss.
The aristocratic supermodel was remembered as a "wonderful woman and an inspiration" after she died – five days after her 50th birthday on December 17.
Victoria Beckham paid tribute to the beloved model, posting a picture of her on the runway.
She wrote: "So saddened to hear the devastating news about Stella Tennant. She was an incredible talent and someone I had so much admiration and respect for.
"This photo is of her opening my first show back at London Fashion Week in 2018 to celebrate my 10th anniversary.
"It was a huge privilege to have her there and meant so much to me. I just loved everything about her. My thoughts are with her family."
Designer Stella McCartney tweeted: "My darling Stella, I f***ing love you and will miss you so, so terribly.
"What sad, horrific news to end this already shocking year!
"My heart goes out to your stunning family who must be in such undeserving pain. I am speechless… Rest in peace, you inspiring woman. Stella."
Her family said in a statement: "It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22nd December 2020.
"Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed.
"Her family ask for their privacy to be respected. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date."
Fashion house Versace paid tribute to Tennant on Twitter, saying: "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."
In 1993, aged 23, Mrs Tennant broke into modelling, posing for magazines such as French, British and Italian Vogue as well as Harper's Bazaar.
The granddaughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, and Deborah Mitford, she rose then rose to fame, walking the runway for designers including Versace and Alexander McQueen.
Tennant also appeared in numerous advertising campaigns, including for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hermes and Burberry.
She was among models representing the British fashion industry during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Stella, who also appeared in Harper's Bazaar and Numero, was widely considered a muse for designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Tennant was inducted as Model of the Year into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame at their annual awards event in 2012.
In a statement following her death, a Police Scotland spokesman said: "Officers were called to an address in Duns around 11.30am on Tuesday, December 22 following the sudden death of a 50-year-old woman.
"Her next of kin have been made aware. There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."
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