Sophia Loren is "heartbroken" over the death of "rival" Gina Lollobrigida.
The Italian actress passed away at the age of 95 on Monday (16.01.22) and now fellow actress Sophia, 88, has admitted she was devastated when she heard the news and insisted her "light" will go on forever.
In a statement given to Adnkronos, she said: "Yesterday I was too heartbroken and I couldn’t find the words. Dear Gina, your body is extinguished but the light of your star will shine over us and in our hearts forever. I love you Gina! Sophia."
During their heyday in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Gina - who was best known for her roles in the likes of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Solomon and Sheba' - was pitted against Academy Award-winning star Sophia as a rival in an"annoying" attempt to drum up publicity, which ended up lasting for half a century.
Sophia said: "She and her publicists started this rivalry with me that lasted for 50 years. It was really annoying. We are different and have completely different career paths. I wanted to be an artist more than anything else, I wanted a high-level career."
Gina was one of the biggest stars of European cinema in the 1950s and 60s, but when her career declined, she became a photographer and sculptor.
Often described as "the most beautiful woman in the world", the 'Beautiful But Dangerous' star was one of the last surviving icons of the era and as recently as 2018, she performed on Italy's version of 'Strictly Come Dancing'.