Renauld White, Groundbreaking Black Model and “Guiding Light” Actor, Dies at 80: 'Truly Loved'

White became the second Black model to appear on the cover of 'GQ' in 1979

<p>Neilson Barnard/Getty</p> Renauld White in 2008

Neilson Barnard/Getty

Renauld White in 2008

Renauld White, a trailblazing model and soap actor known for his work in Guiding Light, has died at the age of 80.

White's longtime friend and fashion designer Jeffrey Banks announced the news on social media and confirmed to Women's Wear Daily (WWD) that White died on Wednesday, June 26, while under hospice care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. A cause of death has not been revealed.

White's funeral will take place on July 12 at the Whigham Funeral Home in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, the establishment shared on its website.

"It is with tremendous sadness that I report that my dearest friend and work colleague, RENAULD WHITE, left us yesterday," Banks wrote on Instagram on June 27. "Modeling for me from the very start of my career, RENAULD was always the perfect gentleman and a great ambassador for my brand. When first introduced to my Mother she claimed instantly that he was my 'older brother.' I only wished that was so."

"I shall miss our talks and times together, but will always remember the barriers you broke in the fashion industry and the love you shared as a trusted friend," Banks continued. "Good night sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

<p>Neilson Barnard/Getty</p> Renauld White in 2008

Neilson Barnard/Getty

Renauld White in 2008

Related: Guiding Light Star Kim Zimmer Was 'So Proud' Working with Son Jake Weary on New Film (Exclusive)

As Banks noted in his tribute, White did indeed break barriers. In November 1979, he became the second Black model to appear on the cover of GQ — following Urs Althaus in November 1977, per WWD.

He started his career modeling in the 1960s and worked with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan over the years. According to WWD, he's said to have also modeled for Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Versace. His notable campaigns included Black Tie cologne, Macy’s, Vitalis and Arrow Shirts.

White said in a 2011 interview, per WWD, that he called on agency Wilhelmina Models to allow more people of color to have access to the modeling industry.

“I wanted to bring about change. I really confronted the establishment about why there were not more Black male images," he said. "At first, I thought I was going to get thrown in jail and beaten up because of my approach. But then they realized that they were wrong and that they were behind society and behind the times, and that they had to listen to me.”

As an actor, White took on the role of William Reynolds in Guiding Light, appearing on the daytime soap opera for two years in the 1980s, per Deadline — a role for which he took a modeling hiatus.

His other acting credits included 2017's Central Park and 2014's Gun Hill, per IMDB, with The Morning Call noting in 1987 that he also had a role in The Stepford Wives.

Related: Remembering Aretha Franklin's Life in Photos

White, who also took part in productions at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in N.Y.C., would attend events with Aretha Franklin, Banks told WWD. White wrote on Instagram in August 2018 following Franklin's death that he "became a cherished private confidant and quiet night phone call to a woman who the world loved."

In October 2018, White was celebrated by his alma mater of West Side High School in Newark and its hall of fame for professional excellence. He also attended Rutgers University.

White, who was also a former advisory board member of the Loyalty Foundation, was remembered by founder David Neeman as “an extraordinary man, so kind, so patient, so thoughtful and a tremendous mentor," per WWD.

“He is an absolute legend and pioneer and not just in fashion," Neeman told the outlet.

<p>Murray Feierberg/Penske Media via Getty</p> Renauld White in the 1970s

Murray Feierberg/Penske Media via Getty

Renauld White in the 1970s

In a follow-up Instagram post, Banks thanked those who have shared tributes to his late friend, and wrote that White "would be overwhelmed by the love, support and words of impact his life and career had on so many people."

"I am reminded of the famous line from The Wizard of Oz: 'A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.' And RENNY was indeed, truly loved," Banks added.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.