B. Smith has died following a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s illness. She was 70.

“It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith,” her husband Dan Gasby confirmed on Sunday in an emotional message shared on social media.

“B. died peacefully Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 10:50 pm, of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in our home in Long Island, New York. She was 70,” he added, earlier than thanking all of the caregivers “who helped us make B. comfortable in her final days.”

Gasby added: “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. Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile.”

Following the information of her demise, many celebrities paid their respects online.

“We lost legendary fashion model, chef, restaurateur, lifestyle icon and magazine publisher, B Smith today. 70 years old, she and her husband, Dan Gasby were at the forefront of #alzheimers #research for people of color. Love to them and daughter, Dana. #bsmithwithstyle,” wrote Al Roker.

“RIP B. Smith.My ideas & prayers are along with her household. B. was particular to many individuals — I’m honored to have spent time with her. B.’s battle with Alzheimer’s was one far too many face, however she approached it with a spirit that made her mild shine brilliant,” added Dr. Oz.

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Smith was recognized with the debilitating illness in 2013 after Gasby observed she was turning into more and more moody and forgetful.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with,” Gasby, a TV producer, beforehand advised PEOPLE in 2016. “Anybody who is an Alzheimer’s care giver knows exactly what other caregivers are going through. It’s 24/7. The complexity and the intensity of it is very tough.”

Her analysis got here whereas she was nonetheless within the midst of constructing her empire. She opened three eponymous eating places, penned three cookbooks and hosted the nationally syndicated present, B. Smith With Style. She was additionally one of the primary African American girl to grace the quilt of Mademoiselle journal.

While persevering with to look after his spouse, Gasby went public together with his relationship with girlfriend Alex Lerner in a December 2018 put up on the Facebook web page he shares with Smith

“B. told me to live, to go on, as I’ve told her,” Gasby advised PEOPLE in 2019. “Anyone who says B. didn’t do that doesn’t know B. We wanted each other to be happy.”

He went on to share that discovering a accomplice in Lerner, with whom he hosts a radio present on 77WABC, has helped him deal with the overwhelming duties of caring for Smith.

“You can be a caregiver and be loving to the patient and your loved one but you can still find some joy. It doesn’t need to be one or the other.”

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