Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington lead tributes to Tatjana Patitz

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Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington have led tributes to fellow supermodel Tatjana Patitz.

The Germany-born star, who rose to international prominence in the '80s and '90s, passed away following a battle with breast cancer on Wednesday. She was 56.

Following the sad news, Cindy took to Instagram to honour her longtime friend.

"So sad to hear of the passing of the beautiful @tatjanapatitz. We were babies together in the fashion industry and I feel like we grew up together. We were in so many shoots together and backstage at shows," she posted. "I found her soft-spoken, sensitive, kind, inquisitive and, who could ever forget those piercing eyes. Her love of animals and nature was infectious. Sending my condolences to her family - especially the son she adored."

In addition, Christy remembered Tatjana in her own message, in which she described the model as the embodiment of "European sophistication and style".

"Tatjana was always a vision. Glamorous, sophisticated, and warm, once she let you in. I could have watched her smoke cigarettes and speak in any of the many languages she was fluent in all day. Who needed to work? I was learning how an international woman behaved and moved in the world in real time," she wrote. "You are unforgettable and are forever in my heart."

Elsewhere, Stephanie Seymour - who was included in Herb Ritts's portrait of the original supermodels alongside the likes of Tatjana, Cindy, Christy, and Naomi Campbell - simply commented that her former colleague was "ethereal".

Milla Jovovich called Tatjana "one of the most stunning humans" she had ever encountered and recalled how she was invited to a photoshoot with the star when she was just 13.

"She was a natural mama even at such a young age. She only got better at it as the years went by," the actress/model mused.

Eva Herzigová and Helena Christensen also honoured Tatjana, while members of the band Duran Duran recalled how they featured her in the video for their 1987 song Skin Trade.

"Such terribly sad news about Tatjana Patitz, she was undoubtedly one of the greatest models of her time and a truly lovely person," they commented.

Tatjana is survived by her 19-year-old son Jonah.