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Jef Billings dead at 71

HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 5: Costume designer Jef Billings

HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 5: Costume designer Jef Billings attends the premiere party by the TV Academy Costume Design & Supervision Peer Group on August 5, 2004 at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Hollywood, California. The party marked the opening of a new exhibition "Designing TV : Emmy 2004 Outstanding Costume and Art Direction". (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images / Amanda Edwards

LOS ANGELES — Jef Billings, a renowned costume designer who directed some of figure skating’s biggest names with Stars on Ice, has died. He was 71.

He died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday, said Stars on Ice. Close friend and assistant Regina Winters said he died of natural causes.

Billings was with the skating show since its inception. The group lauded his dedication and called him the “greatest costume designer in the history of figure skating.”

“Jef has the unique distinction of having worked on every Stars on Ice tour from its beginning,” the group said in a statement Thursday. “From his work on Scott Hamilton’s classic ‘Hair’ and Kristi Yamaguchi’s majestic ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ to Kurt Browning’s ‘Rag-gid-don,’ and the 2013 opening ‘Somebody that I Used to Know,’ Jef had the rare capacity to match to the skaters’ personalities, music, and points of view perfectly with each body. He will be terribly missed by skaters, crew, and all of us who had the honor to work with him through the years.”

Billings also was a costume designer for “Peggy Fleming: An Evening On Ice” and won several Emmy Awards for his television work

Billings was born in Utica, New York. He recently noted on his Facebook page that he was beginning his 13th season as director and designer of Stars on Ice and his 30th year as part of the annual tour.

“Thrilled to be working with the brilliant Jeff Buttle (Choreography)!” he wrote. “Off to Japan, the U.S. and then Canada....How Lucky am I to be part of this Premier Figure Skating Tour!”

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