Nikki Haskell Remembers Late Friend Ivana Trump on the 1-Year  Anniversary of Her Death: “It Was So Unnecessary for Her to Die”

Exactly one year ago to this day (July 14), the world was shocked to learn of the passing of Ivana Trump – she died of blunt force injuries to her torso after falling down a flight of stairs at her Manhattan home. According to her friend, Nikki Haskell, it was a tragedy that could’ve and should’ve been prevented.

Haskell recently sat down with PEOPLE for an interview in memory of her late friend and explained why she feels her death was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘shouldn’t have happened.’ In fact, Haskell warned those close to Ivana – and even warned Ivana, herself – that she shouldn’t be living alone because of the staircase. 

“I told her it was extremely important to get someone to live in the house with her. I said, ‘God forbid you fall down those stairs,’” said Haskell, who befriended Ivana and Donald Trump after they married in the 1970s. “I’m totally heartbroken over it. I think about it all the time. It was so unnecessary for her to die.”

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Nikki Haskell recalled the conversation – more of an argument – she had with Ivana Trump the day before she died. While Haskell made a fair point about her dangerous staircase, Ivana was opposed to the idea of someone living with her. Even though the need for it was clear, Ivana declined to consider the advice. 

“She didn’t want anyone there, she didn’t think she needed security. She just wanted to be left alone. So when someone called to tell me she’d died, I immediately asked, ‘Did she fall down the stairs?’ I was very angry about it for a long time. This shouldn’t have happened,” Haskell said in her interview with PEOPLE.

Haskell goes on to explain how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Ivana Trump. For someone who was ‘always up for an adventure,’ Trump grew terrified of COVID-19 and did whatever she could to avoid getting sick – which often included staying in her Manhattan home and refusing to spend time in public. 

“A lot of people fell into that trap of not going out, not getting dressed, not seeing their friends. It’s very demoralizing, when you start giving up your life and don’t want to leave the house. It happened to a lot of people I know actually, and was very sad,” Haskell said of the final two years of her late friend’s life. 

Ivana Trump Remembered as a ‘Positive’ and ‘Electrifying’ Woman

Ivana Trump and Nikki Haskell grew extremely close from the moment they first met in the 1970s all the way up until her death on July 14, 2022. Haskell describes her friend as ‘the most positive, most fun, most electrifying woman’ she had ever met. They were an adventurous duo who traveled the world together. 

 “She was always up for an adventure. People forget that she used to be a champion skier, and was always very athletic. She was also a great mother, and just great fun all around,” Haskell said of Trump. It was hard for Nikki to see Ivana’s habits and behaviors change during the pandemic, but she tried to help.

With that said, Ivana Trump was looking forward to living the retirement life and had plans of spending six months in St. Tropez in France – a place she loved dearly. And even when Nikki approached her about writing another book, Ivana declined and said she has worked her entire life – she just wanted to relax. 

Ivana’s daughter Ivanka is also remembering her mom on the anniversary of her passing.

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Ivana Trump married Donald Trump in 1977, just four years after her divorce from Alfred Winklmayr (an Austrian ski instructor). Ivana and Donald were together for 13 years and shared three children together – Donald Trump Jr. (1977), Ivanka Trump (1981), and Eric Trump (1984). The couple divorced in 1990. 

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