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Ivana Trump, ex-wife of Donald Trump, dead at 73

The former president remembered his first wife as “a wonderful beautiful and amazing woman.”
/ Source: NBC News

Ivana Trump, Donald Trump's first wife and the mother of his three oldest children, has died, the former president said Thursday.

“I am very saddened to inform all of those that loved her, of which there are many, that Ivana Trump has passed away at her home in New York City,” the former president said in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social. “She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life. Her pride and joy were her three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her. Rest In Peace, Ivana!”

Ivana Trump was 73. Her cause of death is unknown. A city official told NBC News there was no indication of any foul play and that her body would be taken to the Medical Examiner’s office to determine cause of death. 

A former model who was born in Czechoslovakia, the former Ivana Zelnickova married then-businessman Donald Trump in 1977, and held key positions in his businesses, including the Trump Organization, during their 15-year marriage. The couple had three children — Donald Trump Jr., 44, Ivanka Trump, 40, and Eric Trump, 38.

In a statement, the Trump children remembered their mother as “an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty, and caring mother and friend.”

“Ivana Trump was a survivor. She fled from communism and embraced this country. She taught her children about grit and toughness, compassion and determination. She will be dearly missed by her mother, her three children and ten grandchildren,” they wrote.

Eric Trump told reporters, “It’s been a very sad day guys, a very sad day.”

Known as Ivana and The Donald in the city’s tabloids, their marriage came to a sensational end in 1992 after reports linked Donald Trump to model and actress Marla Maples, who would become Trump’s second wife. The messy divorce dominated the front pages of the city’s papers, but the pair remained close after the split.

“I have the direct number to White House,” she said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in late 2017, months after her former husband became president. “But I’m not really going to call him there because Melania is there, and I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I’m basically first Trump wife, OK? I’m first lady, OK?”

Promoting her tell-all memoir, “Raising Trump,” Ivana Trump told CBS that same year that her ex-husband had offered her the U.S. ambassadorship to the Czech Republic, but she declined because “I like my freedom.”

Ivana Trump maintained a successful career following her split from Trump, running several of her own business ventures, including a cosmetics line, writing numerous books and authoring various advice columns. She also made a memorable cameo appearance in the 1996 comedy film “The First Wives Club,” in which she advised characters played by actresses Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler, “Don’t get mad, get everything!”

Image: Donald Trump Jr., Ivana, Ivanka and Eric attend the Ivana Living Legend Wine Collection launch on Oct. 18, 2011 in New York City.
Donald Trump Jr., Ivana, Ivanka and Eric attend the Ivana Living Legend Wine Collection launch on Oct. 18, 2011, in New York City. Ben Hider / Getty Images

Ivana Trump married a total of four times. She married her fourth husband, Italian actor Rossano Rubicondi, at her ex-husband’s Mar-a-Lago resort in 2008. The service was presided over by Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, then a federal judge, and the future president was in attendance. The couple split months later, with Ivana Trump blaming the divorce from her two decades younger husband on the couple wanting to live in different cities.

She said in a statement at the time, “Que sera sera!” (Whatever will be, will be!)

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.