'Queen of Knitwear' Sonia Rykiel dies aged 86

Sonia Rykiel, the Queen of Knitwear, suffered a long battle with Parkinson's


French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel has passed away aged 86, it has been confirmed. The 'Queen of Knitwear' died at home on Thursday following a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Sonia's daughter Nathalie, who is also the managing artistic director of her famous label, released a statement that read: "My mother died at 5:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson's."

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The 'Queen of Knitwear' Sonia Rykiel has passed away aged 86

In 2012 Sonia revealed she was suffering from the condition - and fans were shocked to learn her battle stretched back 15-years. She confessed she'd kept it a secret for as long as possible before it became too difficult to disguise the symptoms.

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In 2012 she revealed she'd been battling Parkinson's for 15-years

That year Sonia released a book, co-written with Judith Perrignon, in which she explained her reason for keeping her illness a secret. She wrote: "I don't want to show my pain. I resisted, I hesitated, I tried to be invisible, to pretend that nothing was wrong. It's impossible, it's not like me."

She later told The Guardian: "It didn't affect me too much at first. You couldn't tell at the time that I was ill just by looking at me, so I managed to go on for a while like that, keeping it to myself. I just continued working as president of Sonia Rykiel until I was 77. In 2007, ahead of the 40th anniversary of the company the following year, my daughter Nathalie took over the role. I continued to work – as I do now – every day, contributing ideas and designs." 

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