Oscar de la Renta, legendary fashion designer, dies at 82

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(CNN) — Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who spent half a century putting high society in haute couture, has died. He was 82.

The cause of his death, announced Monday by close family friends and industry colleagues, was not immediately clear. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but said last year he was “totally clean.”

“The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die,” he told an audience at New York’s 92Y “Fashion Talks” series in June 2013. “We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.”

And what a life he lived.

Throughout his career, the man — often described as the “sultan of suave” — dressed first ladies, celebrities and some of the world’s most famous brides.

Among those whose glamor factor his dresses jazzed up: Jacqueline Kennedy and, most recently, George Clooney’s bride Amal Alamudding.

“He was a true, true gentlemen, in the truest sense of the word — a real bright light — and this is just a terrible, terrible loss for the fashion world,” said Alina Cho, fashion journalist and editor at large at Random House.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he was the only son of seven children.

“My father had different aspirations for me than I had for myself,” he told the “Fashion Talks” audience. “If I ever told my father I would become a fashion designer, he would drop dead on the spot.”