New details are emerging about the death of Ivana Trump, ex-wife of former President Donald Trump. Many of her closest friends and family are still devastated by the unexpected death, which took place after she reportedly fell down a flight of stairs at her Manhattan home aged 73. Ivana is survived by three children, 10 grandchildren and four ex-husbands.
In light of her death, several celebrities and politicians, mostly Trump administration alumni, took to social media to express their condolences. “Our mother was an incredible woman – a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty and a caring mother and friend,” wrote Eric Trump, Ivana’s youngest child, in an Instagram tribute on the day of her death. “Ivana Trump was a survivor. She fled Communism and embraced this country.”
However, heartfelt tributes weren’t the only things Ivana’s loved ones had to share after her death. Recently, one of the former business tycoon’s closest friends shared the heartbreaking story of their last conversation before her death.
Ivana Trump’s friend said she was “very excited” about an upcoming trip
Zach Erdem was a Turkish immigrant who, according to People, could barely speak English when he first met Ivana Trump in 2003 as a waiter at a New York restaurant. Ivana, an immigrant herself, became close to Erdem after he opened his own restaurant in the Hamptons, which she frequented. In light of her death, Erdem shared the heartbreaking story of their last conversation.
“For the first time, she’s like, ‘I don’t know if I can make it to the Hamptons this summer,'” Erdem recalled telling him a few weeks before her death, according to People. “She was very excited to go to Europe. She hadn’t gone to Europe for a few years.” He went on to say that her ticket to leave was only booked for a few days after her death. “She should go there on Friday or Saturday or today. But then she said, ‘I want to go back. I’m coming back to see you and I can’t wait to see you.’” Of course, Ivana wouldn’t make that trip nor see Erdem.
Erdem added that Ivana “wanted to surprise me” but said she “wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to leave the house. She was kind of upset.” Following her death, Erdem posted an Instagram tribute to her. “I already miss you Ivana,” he wrote alongside several pictures of the two taken at his restaurant, based on the photo’s geotag. “REST IN PEACE.”
Ivana Trump’s best friend was worried about the stairs in her house
Since Ivana Trump’s death was ruled an accident, her best friend said she saw it coming. In an interview with the New York Post, Nikki Haskell, one of her closest friends, revealed that she was always worried about Ivana slipping on the poorly designed stairs.
“I was always so upset with that staircase,” she told the outlet. “I hated those stairs. They were so treacherous. We worried that she might fall. Her townhouse was four stories high, and although there was an elevator, she never used it. It’s a nice staircase, but I wouldn’t want it. It’s so steep and deep. Friends used to say to me, ‘Why don’t you stay with Ivana when you’re in New York?’ But you couldn’t pay me to hang out there and go up and down those stairs.”
Even Zach Erdem felt like the stairs at Ivana’s townhouse might hurt her. Without knowing her cause of death at the time, he assumed that she might have injured herself. He described the stairs as “narrow” and recalled how Ivana would always ask him to slow down when they were together. “When we were walking in the street, she would always sit on my arm,” he told People. “She said, ‘Darling, slow down, slow down, I’m not a 20-year-old anymore.'”
Ivana Trump’s friend described her as ‘an angel’
In the same People interview, Zach Erdem gushed about how he knew Ivana Trump was selfless and always helping people regardless of their religion or political affiliation. “She’s always supported charities and everything. She was like an angel. Whoever needed help, she was there. She didn’t care about politics or religion or whatever, she was willing to help anyone who needed it,” he said.
He even said how he looked up to her as a “mother” because of her kind demeanor. And when Erdem was still a newly minted restaurateur, he said that Ivana never stopped supporting him. “‘I want you to be more successful. I know how hard you work. I know where you’re from,’ which was really cool when someone knows you and gives you credit,” he said, recalling a conversation, that he had with her in the past. “She knew I was a busboy. She knew that as a busboy I didn’t speak English.”
Given Ivana’s generosity, it’s not surprising that the Trump family asked mourners to donate instead to Big Dog Ranch Rescue, a Florida-based charity close to her heart. “Ivana has been philanthropic for many charities throughout her life, but has always remained steadfast and passionate in her love for animals,” the donation page reads. “In lieu of flowers, we ask that you support Ivana in her mission to help dogs and donate to Big Dog Rescue Ranch.”