Model, author, restaurateur B. Smith dies of early-onset Alzheimer's disease at 70: Family friend

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Sunday, February 23, 2020
FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2012 file photo, former model and restaurateur B. Smith arrives at the BET Honors red carpet in the Warner Theatre in Washington.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File-AP

LONG ISLAND -- Model, author, restaurateur and television host B. Smith has died at the age of 70 at her Long Island home, a family friend confirmed to our sister station WABC-TV.

Barbara Smith died Saturday night of early-onset Alzheimer's disease, according to her family.

Smith made history as the first African American model to be featured on the cover of "Mademoiselle" magazine in the 1970s.

She wrote three home and entertainment books: "B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends," "B. Smith: Rituals and Celebration" and "B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style."

Her family said she ran three B. Smith restaurants -- in New York City, Long Island and in Washington, D.C. -- until she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease at the age of 64 in 2013.

She and her husband Dan Gasby worked to raise awareness of the disease and its effects on the African American community.

Gasby appeared on "The View" earlier this month to talk about Smith's battle with Alzheimer's and defended his choice to start dating.

"She said to me, 'I want you to go on,'" he said of his wife. "I'm keeping my vows."

According to her official biography, her signature tagline, "Whatever you do, do it with style!" has been on display at Smithsonian The National Museum of African American History and Culture.