Architect Zaha Hadid dies aged 65

Architect Dame Zaha Hadid, who was known for her designs for the London Olympic Aquatic Centre for the 2012 Olympics in Stratford, has died aged 65 following a heart attack.

Born in Iraq, Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today. Earlier this year she became the first ever woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal in recognition of her work.

She died in a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis. Her company issued a statement today saying: “It is with great sadness that Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that Dame Zaha Hadid died suddenly in the early hours of this morning.”

Hadid’s designs have been commissioned around the world and she often worked with the engineers Arup and AKT (formerly Adams Kara Taylor). She twice won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize: in 2010 for the MAXXI Museum in Rome, a building for the staging of 21st century art, and in 2011 for the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton.

When she collected her RIBA Gold Medal in February this year, Hadid said she was proud to have been the first woman to win the prize. “We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn't mean it's easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress," she said.

Hadid's death sparked an outpouring of tributes. Frank Gehry said that Hadid had "created a language that's unique to her. I suppose it will be copied, but never the way she did it," he said. Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic said: "There was an impression that she was a diva, but actually she had a fantastic grasp of friendship". the Financial Times described her as "the most inventive and successful female architect of the modern age," while the swimmer Becky Adlington, who had success in the 2012 Olympics in one of Hadid's buildings, said she had such admiration for Hadid's work, especially the London Olympic Aquatic Centre.

Daniel Libeskind said he was "devastated" and that her spirit will live on. Richard Rogers said: "Among architects emerging in the last few decades, no one had any more impact than she did. She fought her way through as a woman." RIBA president Jane Duncan said that Hadid had "made space fly" with her "unbelievable designs" and that "she leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars that delight and astound people all around the world." The V&A said that Hadid's "visionary design forced architecture into public conciousness".

In a sign that Hadid's death had affected people way beyond the architectural and built enviroment world, Chelsea Clinton said that Hadid had "changed the way we see architecture and our world," while the model Naomi Campbell said she was in shock and disbelief, calling Hadid "a genius and one of the most creative people". Singer KT Tunstall meanwhile described Hadid as "an amazing dreamer and manifestor".

Dame Zaha's other work includes the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London and the Guangzhou Opera House in China. 

Details of her memorial service will be announced shortly.

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