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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Former Miss Universe Miss Venezuela dies of cancer at age 28

Ms. Venezuela - Eva Ekvall
This photo was taken on May 11, 2001. In this photo, Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall stands with other contestants, unseen, as they wait for the announcement of the winner of Miss Universe in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

According to the news, Ekvall died on Saturday Dec. 17, 2011 due to breast cancer in Houston at age 28. The venezuelan television channel Globovision reports that Ekvall died on Saturday in a Houston hospital after a long struggle with breast cancer. At age 18, Ekvall was third runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant in Puerto Rico. She was a model, actress and television news anchor.

Ekvall was crowned Miss Venezuela at age 17 in 2000, and the following year she was third runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant in Puerto Rico.

She also authored a book, "Fuera de Foco" ("Out of Focus"), which was about her struggle with cancer.

Before she died, she told the newspaper El Nacional in an interview last year after the book was published that "I needed to send the message of the need for cancer prevention."

On the cover was a portrait in which she appeared with makeup and her head shaved. The book also included images of her while going through chemotherapy.

"I hate to see photos in which I come out ugly," Ekvall told El Nacional. "But you know what? Nobody ever said cancer is pretty or that I should look like Miss Venezuela when I have cancer."

At that time, she was hopeful of overcoming cancer and wanted to write more.

She was married to radio producer John Fabio Bermudez and had a 2-year-old daughter.

In her book, Ekvall had described her joy at the birth of her daughter saying "that happiness, although (the daughter) may not know it or understand it, keeps me alive today."

The book included emails that she wrote to friends providing updates on her treatment and thanking them for their support, as well as short essays by relatives and friends reflecting on her ordeal.

When she died, Ekvall's husband posted a photo on Twitter showing a close-up of his hand holding hers, resting on a bed, with the words "Always together ... I love you wife."


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