06/27/2007 at 03:00 PM EDT
Designer Liz Claiborne, whose name has adorned career-women's fashions since the 1970s, has died, her company announced Wednesday. She was 78.
Claiborne had been battling cancer and died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Tuesday, her assistant tells Reuters.
Born in Brussels, Claiborne immigrated to the United States as a child and grew up in New Orleans. She founded her namesake company with husband Art Ortenberg in 1976 and retired in 1989.
Bill McComb, CEO of Liz Claiborne Inc., said in a statement on Wednesday: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Art Ortenberg and the entire Claiborne/Ortenberg family on this sad occasion.
"In losing Liz Claiborne, we have not only lost the founder of our company, but an inspirational woman who revolutionized the fashion industry 30 years ago. Her commitment to style and design is ever present in our thinking and the way we work. We will remember Liz for her vision, her entrepreneurial spirit and her enduring compassion and generosity."