Venezuelan beauty queen dies of breast cancer at 28


The former Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall has died of breast cancer aged 28 at a hospital in Houston, Texas.

Ms Ekvall was crowned Miss Venezuela when just 17 in 2000 and went on to work as a model, actress and TV presenter.

She wrote a book, Fuera de Foco (Out of Focus), about her struggle with the disease. After its publication last year she told the newspaper El Nacional in an interview: "I needed to send the message of the need for cancer prevention."

On the cover was a portrait in which she appeared with make-up and her head shaved. The book also included images of her while undergoing chemotherapy.

"I hate to see photos in which I come out ugly," Ms 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 the time, she was hopeful of overcoming cancer and wanted to write more.

Ekvall's family said in a statement on Sunday that she was being cremated in Houston on Monday and that a service would be held in Venezuela once her remains are returned to the country.

Her death brought an outpouring of condolences from Venezuelans, including prominent artists and politicians.