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Restaurateur and lifestyle icon B. Smith dies at 70

Barbara Smith became known in the 1970s as a top black model on magazine covers going on to become an author and entrepreneur.

Restaurateur and model B. Smith has died at the age of 70 following complications from early-onset Alzheimer's.

Her husband, Dan Gasby, announced her death in an Instagram post

"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," Gasby said in the post. "Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.'s dazzling and unforgettable smile."

Gasby said Smith died late Saturday, Feb. 22 at their home in Long Island, New York. 

Barbara Smith became known in the 1970s as a top black model on magazine covers. She went on to write books, start a magazine and host a syndicated TV show and soon became known as the "black Martha Stuart." A comparison Smith called "a little tired," according to the Washington Post

Smith shortened her name to "B" during her modeling career.

In 1986, she went into the restaurant business opening a bistro in New York's theater district. She subsequently opened up other restaurants in the New York area including one in Union Station and another in Sag Harbor. Her restaurants were known for their high-end soul food.

In the mid 1990s, Smith became the host of the nationally syndicated talk show "B. Smith with Style."

She is survived by her husband and step-daughter, Dana.