Eva Ekvall, the former Miss Venezuela in 2000, died of breast cancer Saturday. She was 28-years-old.
The family of Ekvall said she died Saturday at a hospital in Houston, Tex., where her remains would be cremated on Monday.
Ekvall was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2000 when she was 17-years-old. In 2001, she was third runner-up in Miss Universe and continued a career in modeling, acting and as a television news anchor while simultaneously running several charities.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2010 and had a highly publicized battle as she underwent nearly one year of treatment in the public eye.
In the beginning I wasn't sure if I looked good or not. Then I realized that wasn't the point. I wasn't supposed to look good, I had cancer, she said.
Following her diagnosis, Ekvall penned a book entitled Fuera de Foco, or Out of Focus in English, chronicling her battle with cancer. Ekvall told El Nacional she wrote the book to send the message of the need for cancer prevention.
The book contained images by Venezuelan photographer Roberto Mata of Ekvall going through chemotherapy, with the most shocking photo on the cover: a dolled-up black and white shot of Ekvall with a shaved head.
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.
In the book, Ekvall wrote about the birth of her daughter, 2-year-old Miranda, with husband radio producer John Fabio Bermudez, whom she had shortly before being diagnosed with cancer. Ekvall described giving birth, saying that happiness, although Miranda may not know it or understand it, keeps me alive today.
Ekvall was reportedly a supporter of cancer awareness group SenosAyuda and some say she is responsible for spreading awareness about cancer in Venezuela.
Eric Ekvall, Eva's father, said her mother who was also named Eva died of breast cancer at 39-years-old.
The news of her death brought widespread grief for Venezuelans, who had closely followed Eva Ekvall's struggle with breast cancer.
On Sunday, before her death, her husband Bermudez posted a photo of the couple holding hands on his Twitter account with a caption which read, Always together ... I love you wife.
Eva Ekvall's family said a service will be held in Venezuela after her cremated remains are returned to the country.