Figure skating costume designer Jef Billings dies at 71

LOS ANGELES (AP) Renowned figure skating costume designer Jef Billings has died at 71.

He was a long-time designer and director for Stars on Ice, which announced his death on its Facebook page. Close friend and assistant Regina Winters said he died Tuesday of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles.

Billings was with the Stars on Ice tour since its inception, working with such skaters as Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi and Kurt Browning. The figure skating show said Billings had the ''rare capacity to match to the skaters' personalities, music and points of view perfectly with each body.''

Billings was born in Utica, New York. He was a costume designer for ''Peggy Fleming: An Evening On Ice'' and won several Emmy Awards for his television work.