Sir Mick Jagger said today he was "still struggling to understand" how his "lover and best friend" could have ended her own life, following the apparent suicide of his long-term girlfriend L'Wren Scott.
In a message posted online, the Rolling Stones frontman said he will "never forget" the designer and former model who was found dead in her New York apartment yesterday morning.
The band also pulled the plug on their entire tour of Australia and New Zealand, which had been due to begin tomorrow, in the wake of the tragedy, which shocked the fashion world. The shows are expected to be rescheduled at a later date.
Sir Mick said: " I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way.
"We spent many wonderful years together and had made a great life for ourselves. She had great presence and her talent was much admired, not least by me.
"I have been touched by the tributes that people have paid to her, and also the personal messages of support that I have received. I will never forget her."
Scott, 49, had been dating the 70-year-old rock star since 2001 after they met when she was the stylist at a photoshoot.
Shortly after her death was announced yesterday, it emerged that her British fashion company had been losing millions of pounds.
Accounts filed with Companies House in October show Scott's British company, LS Fashion Ltd, was running at a loss of more than £3.5 million in 2012, up from more than £2.5 million the previous year.
The documents also show the firm owed more than a million pounds, despite having assets totalling a similar amount.
Scott, who was said to be 6ft 4ins tall and towered at least half a foot over her boyfriend, became well-known in Britain after she got together with Sir Mick.
She designed stage outfits for notable headline performances by the band at Glastonbury Festival and Hyde Park in recent years.
It is understood that police do not suspect foul play. A spokesman for Scott asked for the privacy of her family and friends to be respected.
The Stones said they were "deeply sorry and disappointed" to pull out of the six Australian shows, which should have begun in Perth, and one show in New Zealand, but hoped fans would understand.
A statement said: "Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood wish to thank all of their fans for their support at this difficult time and hope that they will fully understand the reason for this announcement."
Three days ago they played a show at the grand ballroom of Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, rounding off the Asian dates of their 14 On Fire tour.
Scott was originally called Luann Bambrough, and brought up as a Mormon in Utah, but changed her name to launch her modelling career in her teens.
She worked in Paris for a number of years, with the likes of Thierry Mugler and Karl Lagerfeld, then returned to the US as a stylist. She was a wardrobe consultant for films such as Eyes Wide Shut and Ocean's Thirteen.
Scott launched her fashion line in 2006, with fans of her work said to include Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and Michelle Obama, and she has also designed for Banana Republic.
Many paid tribute as news of her death emerged. Bianca Jagger, Sir Mick's ex-wife, tweeted: "Heartbroken to learn of the loss of the lovely and talented L'Wren Scott. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May she rest in peace."
Fashion designer Marc Jacobs wrote: "Rest in peace, L'Wren Scott. You'll forever be missed."
New York City Police said she was found unconscious at her home on 11th Avenue in Manhattan
"She was pronounced dead on arrival by the emergency medical services," the spokeswoman said.