Following a battle with breast cancer, former beauty queen Eva Ekvall died Saturday (Dec. 17). She was 28.
Born of a Jamaican mother and an American father (by way of Sweden and Hungary), Ekvall was crowned Miss Venezuela 2000 when she was only 17. The next year she was the third runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant. This led to modeling, acting and TV work.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after giving birth to her daughter Miranda in the summer of 2009. She then underwent eight months of treatment including chemotherapy, radiation a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
In addition to her more visual occupations, Ekvall was also a writer. Her book “Fuera de Foco” (“Out of Focus”) chronicled her journey and featured a picture of her with close-cropped hair on its cover. Ekvall said she wrote it raise awareness in Venezuela (where pageant personalities are extremely famous) about cancer prevention.
“We invest a lot of money in looking beautiful and not in health care,” she said in interviews promoting her book of Venezuela, known for its obsession with cosmetic surgery.
“There’s a huge taboo around breast cancer. But in this country people get their boobs done every day, so I don’t understand how breast cancer can be a problem when everybody’s showing their breasts.”
Ekvall is survived by her husband, radio producer John Fabio Bermudez, and their daughter.