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Supermodel Niki Taylor first appeared on the cover of Vogue at age 15, the youngest model ever to do so.
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While the cause of death was originally believed to be an asthma attack, it was later discovered that Krissy suffered from a rare heart condition called right ventricular dysplasia (RVD). Krissy's death was devastating to the entire family, although over time they would say it brought them closer together. "I may be 23, but I feel like 50," Taylor explained to Cosmopolitan's Sgroi. "I've been through a lot, but everything has been a learning experience. It's made me a much wiser,
In the years that followed, Taylor cut down on her shooting schedule to spend more time with her twins. Still, with appearances in the swimsuit issue of Sport Illustrated, Taylor's popularity soared and she became one of the most well-known models of the 1990s. By 2001 she traveled only four to six days a month to New York and was working almost exclusively for Cover Girl and Nokia (a cell phone company).
Despite the years of attention she received as a model, Taylor's friends still described her as "down-to-earth" and "unaffected," choosing to remain in her Florida home rather than move to New York or Los Angeles. However, Taylor suffered from an abuse of prescription drugs. Her problems started with a prescription to Xanax for general anxiety and progressed to the painkiller Vicodin. Several people reported incidents in which she fell asleep at restaurants, and in February of 2001, Taylor checked herself into a 28-day rehabilitation program in Maryland.
In the early morning on April 29, 2001, Taylor's life would take one more difficult turn. She was one of two passengers in a 1993 Nissan Maxima driven by her friend, James "Chad" Renegar, a stockbroker, that slammed into a utility pole on a quiet Atlanta street. Renegar told police he lost control of the car when he reached for a ringing cell phone. Reportedly, neither drugs nor alcohol were involved. Both Renegar and the third person in the car, John Lauck, a banker, escaped serious injury, but Taylor suffered from internal bleeding, severe liver damage, and a shattered vertebra. Her face was not injured.
For the first few weeks, Taylor's condition was touch-and-go and her doctor warned that she was in danger of losing her life. When Taylor became fully conscious after two months she guessed that she had been in the hospital for only four days. Her slow recovery included 40 surgical procedures over the next four months. Taylor left Grady Memorial Hospital on June 26, 2001 and moved into a private rehabilitation facility in Atlanta. After so many weeks in intensive care she required extensive rehabilitation. Her biggest motivator was seeing her sons, who were cared for by their father during Taylor's months of recuperation. "All I wanted was to live to see my boys again," Taylor told US Weekly' s Ken Baker.
Finally, on July 17, 2001, Taylor was reunited with her sons in Florida. ". . . It could be a year before I feel even close to normal," she explained to Baker. "Modeling has been the furthest thing from my mind through this whole ordeal.
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