Model Naomi Campbell said it would take time to come to terms with the death of Nelson Mandela and that he had given her "a reason for being" during difficult periods in her life.
Campbell said: "Nelson Mandela has stood as a figure of strength, hope, freedom, selflessness and love, and I join everyone across the world in mourning his passing.
"However, he was much more than just a figurehead to me - he was my mentor, my honorary grandfather, my Tata.
"Since meeting him in 1993, he's guided me and gave me a reason for being in the tough times of my life. He changed my perception of the world."
Naomi Campbell accepted "substantial" libel damages at the High Court today over a false story that she was planning to organise an elephant polo match in India for her partner's birthday.
In a statement, the supermodel said the Daily Telegraph's story should never have been published, saying, "There were never plans to hold an elephant polo tournament".
"I am glad that the matter has been resolved and I accept the newspaper's apology."
The supermodel's lawyer, Gideon Benaim, said the article last November reported "detailed criticisms made of these plans by the animal rights group Peta, who were said to have launched a personal attack on Ms Campbell for promoting animal cruelty".
Mr Benaim told Mr Justice Eady that the story was "simply false and the criticisms unfounded".