Supermodel Naomi Campbell is heartbroken over the death of hair industry icon and close friend Oribe Canales, who passed away at 62 years old.

“It’s devastating for everyone that loves him,” Campbell, 48, tells PEOPLE exclusively just hours after she learned the news. “He was such a talent and such a force. Oribe is a chosen family member for me since I was 16 years old.”

Campbell’s tight-knit relationship with Canales has spanned more than three decades, after they instantly hit it off for the first time  on set of an American Vogue shoot in 1986. “I walked into another world with [photographer] Steven [Meisel], Oribe, [makeup artist] François [Nars] and [then-Vogue fashion director and stylist] Carlyne [Cerf de Dudzeele]. I came off the concord at 16, went straight to the studio and it was like I walked into another world,” she says.

“It was unreal,” Campbell adds.

Although Campbell says she hadn’t seen Canales in over a year (except over FaceTime earlier in 2018), their “unconditional love” always brought them together.

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“Whether we see each other or not, when something like this happens we all come together. When [designer] Azzedine Alaïa passed — my papa — Oribe was right there on the phone calling me to make sure I was okay, because we share a bond. We share a special time,” Campbell says. “Even to this day, no matter what happens in my career, he would be the first to say ‘Congratulations.’”

She also credits Canales, along with the other creative forces behind the most iconic fashion shoots and runway shows of the ’80s and ’90s, as a major “part of making us who we are.”

“When I say the supermodel era will never happen again, it is because it wasn’t just us. It was our team,” Campbell explains.

She adds, “We were together. We grew up together. We came up together. It was a collaboration of all of us together. This became my family in the United States of America. We’d go to dinners. We’d go to see horror movies, even though I hated them. He was a prankster — he loved to take a joke far — but with good intentions. He never complained, and was so enthusiastic.”

Luckily, Campbell has her longtime friendships with fellow supermodels Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington to help her grieve the loss of the hair genius.

“[They both] called me. They’re my two chosen sisters. Whatever people want to think about us, we were always close and will always remain close and in each others lives,” Campbell tells us. “We try to see each other and of course this made us realize we need to take some time and go somewhere, be together and share our memories because it was special times.”

As for his legacy, the star hopes models, celebrities and hairstylists continue to celebrate Canales for years to come.

“There is nothing he wouldn’t do. There is nothing he would say no to. Everything was possible to do with him. Even the impossible,” a teary Campbell tells us adding, “We felt amazing by Oribe’s touch. He helped so many other hairdressers today by guiding them, mentoring them and giving them their start. He is to be celebrated because he is such an incredible human being.”

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