By DEEPTI HAJELA
NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump paid respects to his first wife, Ivana Trump, joining their three children Wednesday at a funeral Mass for the 1980s style icon and businesswoman who helped him build an empire that launched him to the presidency.
“A very sad day, but at the same time a celebration of a wonderful and beautiful life,” the ex-president wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, before heading to the Mass with his current wife, former first lady Melania Trump.
Donald and Ivana Trump’s three children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — and their families followed Ivana’s gold-colored coffin into St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Tiffany Trump, the daughter of the former president and his second wife, Marla Maples, also attended the service, as did family friends including Jeanine Pirro, co-host of Fox News’ “The Five,” and Charles Kushner, a real estate developer and the father of Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner. Fashion designer Dennis Basso, a longtime friend of Ivana Trump’s, was also among the mourners.
The Mass was “an elegant, wonderful send-off for Ivana Trump,” longtime friend R. Couri Hay said as he emerged.
Trump’s family announced Thursday that the 73-year-old had died at her Manhattan home. Authorities said the death was an accident, with blunt impact injuries to her torso as the cause.
Ivana and Donald Trump met in the 1970s and were married from 1977 to 1992. In the 1980s, they were a power couple, and she became well known in her own right, instantly recognizable with her blond hair in an updo and her glamorous look.
Ivana Trump also took part in her husband’s businesses, managing one of his Atlantic City casinos and picking out some of the design elements in New York City’s Trump Tower.
Their very public divorce was ugly, but in recent years they were friendly. Ivana Trump was an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and said they spoke on a regular basis.
Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed.
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