Former Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall, who was crowned at the age of 17, died at age 28 struggling with breast cancer. She died on Saturday at a hospital in Houston, her family said.
Ekvall's family said in a statement Sunday that her remains were being cremated in Houston on yesterday and that a service is to be held in Venezuela once her remains are returned to the country.
Ekvall won the Miss Venezuela title in 2000 and was a third runner-up for Miss Universe in 2001. She also worked as an actress and television anchor. She also had worked to promote cancer awareness since being diagnosed in 2010.
"Fuera de Foco" ("Out of Focus") was a book authored by Eva Ekvall that includes about her struggle with cancer and different images by Venezuelan photographer Roberto Mata. She told in an interview last year after the book was published that "I needed to send the message of the need for cancer prevention."
She was married to radio producer John Fabio Bermudez and had a 2-year-old daughter.
SenosAyuda, a Caracas-based breast cancer awareness organisation, said in a tribute on its website that Ekvall's legacy will pave the way for thousands of Venezuelan women. Her death brought an outpouring of condolences from Venezuelans, including from some prominent artists and politicians.