B. Smith Dies: Pioneering Model and Lifestyle Icon Was 70

B. Smith (Credit: Shutterstock)

B. Smith, a model who went on to build a lifestyle empire that included the television show B. Smith With Style, died Saturday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, her family said. She was 70.

Smith’s husband, Dan Gasby, shared the news of her passing Sunday morning on Facebook.

“It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith,” Gasby wrote. “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.”

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Gasby continued by thanking Smith’s caregivers and her fans for their support.

“Thank you to Dr. Sam Gandy, East End Hospice and additional caregivers who helped us make B. comfortable in her final days,” he 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.”

Barbara Elaine Smith was born in Pennsylvania in August 1949. She began her modeling career in the 1960s and became one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine in 1976. Over the years, she graced the front pages of more than a dozen magazines.

After she retired from modeling, Smith opened three restaurants and published best-selling cookbooks. She also hosted the nationally syndicated talk show, B. Smith With Style, and made frequent appearances on the Today show. As her brand expanded, she became known as “The Black Martha Stewart.”

Today personality Al Roker paid tribute to Smith Sunday on Twitter.

“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,” Roker tweeted.

Smith married Gasby, a former television executive, in 1992. He served as her business partner and helped oversee her multi-million dollar empire.

She was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013, and went public with her battle, saying she hoped to help others.

Gasby drew criticism after revealing in social media posts that he was in a relationship with a woman named Alex Lerner. Then in a January 2019 interview with The Washington Post, Gasby said he had moved his girlfriend into the marital home he shared with Smith.

Despite the criticism, Gasby said he remained devoted to this wife, and his girlfriend helped him cope with the heartbreak that came with caring for Smith.

B. Smith is survived by Gasby and her step-daughter Dana.