Society heiress, designer, and fashion darling Gloria Vanderbilt has passed away following a diagnosis of stomach cancer. She was 95.
Gloria's passing was announced by her son, prolific CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper, in a televised tribute and obituary.
First famous for being born into the ultra-wealthy American Vanderbilt family of New York on February 20, 1924, she was then thrust into a bitter custody battle between her paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and her negligent teenage mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, at the age of 10 in 1934. The case was a sensation and dominated newspaper headlines for months.
Later, in the '70s, after spending decades as a much-photographed model, actress, artist, and muse, Gloria would build a $100 million fashion empire that started when she marketed jeans for women with her signature etched on the back pocket. She promoted them in memorable TV ads and public appearances, setting new trends in apparel marketing as the first American to exploit an illustrious family name on designer clothing.