Franca Sozzani, the editor of Vogue Italia, passed away on Thursday, according to a letter from Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast.
"This is the saddest news I have ever had to report to you," begins the letter posted to Vogue Italia's website. "Franca Sozzani, the Editor of Italian Vogue for 28 years, died today in Milan after a year-long illness with her son Francesco by her side."
Under Sozzani's direction, Italian Vogue became one of the most boundary-pushing editions of the international publication. Though she will perhaps be best-remembered for her collaborations with photographer Steven Meisel, Sozzani used the pages of Vogue Italia to spark often-controversial conversations about age, race and size/body image. She didn't shy away from pop culture, giving Kim Kardashian her first Vogue appearance and defending fashion bloggers well before they were an established part of the industry. In recent years, she also served as Ambassador to Fashion for the United Nations; her son Francesco recently directed "Franca: Chaos and Creation," a documentary about his mother.
"Franca was one of the greatest Editors who ever made a magazine," the letter from Newhouse continues. "She was by far the most talented, influential and important person within the Condé Nast International organisation."
The passing of Sozzani is a very sad way to end the year indeed. She will be missed.