U.S. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has paid tribute to her predecessor Grace Mirabella following her death.Mirabella, who ran the magazine for 17 years, passed away at her home in New York City on Thursday. She was 91. The publishing powerhouse joined Vogue in 1951 and succeeded Diana Vreeland as Editor-in-Chief in 1971. She left the magazine in 1988 to start her own publication, Mirabella. Wintour paid tribute to her predecessor after hearing the news of her passing. "Grace guided Vogue through a momentous time in American history – emancipation, sexual freedom, and vital and hard-won rights for women – and she made that time come alive on the magazine's pages," the 72-year-old said in a statement posted on Vogue.com. "She eschewed fantasy and escapism in favor of a style that was chicly minimalist and which spoke clearly and directly to the newly liberated ways we wanted to live. "She always exemplified the best of America in her vision and values, and she changed Vogue in ways which still resonate – and which we are profoundly thankful for – today." Mirabella was known for her down-to-earth approach to the long-running publication, adding arts, fitness, health and beauty sections to the fashion-focused title. Her influence widened the paper's readership, increasing circulation from 400,000 in 1971 to 1.2 million in 1988, according to The New York Times.