Gia Carangi, credited as being the world’s first ‘supermodel,’ would have turned 57 today.

The US fashion model, who died in 1986 at the age of 26 from complications resulting from AIDS, had a short but incredibly successful career in the late seventies and early eighties.

Born in Philadelphia on January 29, 1960, Gia Marie Carangi was the third and youngest child of Joseph Carangi, who was of Italian descent, and Kathleen, who was of Irish and Welsh ancestry. Gia moved to New York City when she was 17. She signed with Wilhelmina Models and quickly rose to prominence.

Gia appeared on the cover of Vogue numerous times and modeled for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg, Levis, Armani and Maybelline. Her career rapidly declined after she became addicted to heroin.

She was diagnosed with HIV in June 1986. She was one of the first celebrities to be diagnosed with the disease, and also the first famous female diagnosed.

Her life was dramatized in the 1998 HBO-film 'Gia,' starring Angelina Jolie.

 

Gia CarangiScavullo Images 1982/Wikipedia