Ivana Trump dead at 73

First wife of Donald Trump played key role in Trump Organization developments

Ivana Trump (Getty)
Ivana Trump (Getty)

Ivana Trump, the former model, skier and real estate developer whose rollercoaster marriage to Donald Trump and made-for-tabloids divorce from the mogul made her the subject of international fascination, has died, according to a statement from the Trump family. She was 73.

Ivana was found dead in her Upper East Side apartment Thursday afternoon, according to ABC.

“She was a wonderful, beautiful and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,” Donald Trump wrote Thursday on his social media platform, Truth Social. “Her pride and joy were her three children,” the former president added, referring to Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.

“Ivana Trump was a survivor,” Eric Trump said in a statement. “She fled from communism and embraced this country. She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination.”

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Born in Czechoslovakia under communist rule, Ivana moved to Canada in the 1970s, where she reportedly worked as a ski instructor before becoming a model. That career led her to New York, where she met a brash young developer named Donald Trump.

The two wed in 1977 and became twin subjects of tabloid fascination in the go-go eighties. That was also the era in which Trump did some of his most notable development projects, and Ivana had a hand in shaping many of them, including the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the renovation of the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the development of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

Her official title at the Trump Organization was vice president of interior design, and she managed what was perhaps the best-known asset in the whole portfolio: the Plaza Hotel.

By 1990, the marriage had deteriorated beyond repair. The Trump divorce was a major national story — according to the New York Times, it occupied the front page of the tabloids for 11 straight days and it was all that legendary New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith wrote about for three straight months.

Ivana is survived by her mother, three children and 10 grandchildren.