Venezuelan beauty queen Eva Ekvall died this week at age 28 after a two-year battle with breast cancer.
Ekvall, who was crowned Miss Venezuela at age 17 in 2000, died Saturday to the dismay of thousands of Venezuelans who watched closely her fight against the illness, including a brief remission last year.
Diagnosed just six months after giving birth to her first child, a girl, Ekvall immediately became an outspoken proponent of cancer prevention and shared much of her battle with the illness publicly, according to El Nacional, a Venezuelan newspaper.
In 2010, Ekvall published a book, “Out of Focus,” about her struggle through treatment, which included photographs of her with her head shaved while going through chemotherapy.
“I hate to see photos in which I come out ugly,” Ekvall told El Nacional newspaper. “But you know what? Nobody ever said cancer is pretty or that I should look like Miss Venezuela when I have cancer.”
Ekvall, whose parents are Jamaican and American, died in Houston. She was married to a radio producer, John Fabio Bermudez, and had a 2-year-old daughter.
Thousands of Twitter messages were posted in the hours following the announcement of Ekvall’s death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.