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Ivana Trump’s Friend Fought Her About Needing Live-in Help the Day Before She Fell Down Stairs (Exclusive)

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Friday marks the one-year anniversary of Ivana Trump’s shocking death — a tragedy, says her longtime friend Nikki Haskell, that never should have happened.

“I’m totally heartbroken over it,” Haskell, 82, tells PEOPLE of her dear friend. “I think about it all the time. It was so unnecessary for her to die.”

Haskell says that she argued with Trump the day before she was found unresponsive on her staircase and declared dead on the scene by first responders. A medical examiner quickly ruled her death an accident, the result of blunt force injuries to her torso.

“I told her it was extremely important to get someone to live in the house with her,” Haskell recalls. “I said, ‘God forbid you fall down those stairs.” According to Haskell, Trump was adamantly opposed to the idea.

“She didn’t want anyone there, she didn’t think she needed security. She just wanted to be left alone,” Haskell says. “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.”

Ivana Trump does a television interview at the book launch party and reception for Ivana Trump and Gianluca Mech’s “The Italiano Diet” in 2018. REBECCA SMEYNE/GETTY

Haskell, who first met the socialite and businesswoman when she began dating Donald Trump in the late ’70s, says that the Czech-American model was the most fun person she’d ever known.

“We traveled the world together,” says Haskell, who used to be a successful stockbroker herself, and also had a cable TV show in the ’70s where she interviewed celebrities at Studio 54.

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“Ivana was the most positive, most fun, most electrifying woman that I’d ever met,” she continues. “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, who is now reaching new fans with witty advice videos on TikTok, adds that the COVID-19 lockdown really affected Trump, who barely left her Manhattan townhouse during the last two years of her life.

“She was really worried about getting sick,” Haskell says.

“A lot of people fell into that trap of not going out, not getting dressed, not seeing their friends,” she says. “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.”

Prior to the pandemic and her untimely death at 73, Haskell says Trump was really looking forward to living the rest of her life in retirement, and spending half the year in her beloved St. Tropez.

“I told her, ‘Why don’t you maybe write another book or something?’ And she said, ‘Nikki, I’ve been working since I was three years old. I’m just going to enjoy my life from here on out.’ And that’s what she was going to do.”

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