Nov 14, 2011 12:00AM

Evelyn Lauder Dies at 75

Co-creator of the Pink Ribbon dies of ovarian cancer.

Evelyn Lauder died on Saturday at her Manhattan following complications from ovarian cancer. Lauder was an innovator and a philanthropist who was herself first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989. In 1992 she co-created the Pink Ribbon, now known worldwide as the symbol for breast health, and in 1993 founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has raised more than US$350 million and supports 186 researchers globally.

Lauder is survived by her husband, Leonard Lauder, two sons and five grandchildren. After fleeing a Nazi-occupied Europe with her parents and settling in New York, she attended Hunter College and met Leonard on a blind date. The pair were married for fifty years until her passing this weekend.

The couple remained companions and business partners until her passing this weekend. "I was very strong," Evelyn had said of her relationship with Leonard's mother, cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. "Having had a childhood like the one I had, I was much more tough than a lot of people. I was one of the few people who spoke my mind to Estee."

"My mother and father were life partners as well as business partners," said their son, William Lauder, in a statement. "They nurtured the culture and growth of the Estee Lauder companies, and as we grew, my mother was our creative compass and pillar of strength. Together my family and the company celebrate the beautiful person she was."

Emily Royal