Evelyn Lauder
Singer Elton John applauds with Evelyn Lauder after she accepted an award during "An Enduring Vision," a benefit dinner for the Elton John Aids Foundation in New York on Nov. 16, 2009. Evelyn Lauder died in Manhattan Saturday at the age of 75. REUTERS

Breast cancer awareness advocate Evelyn Lauder died in Manhattan Saturday at the age of 75.

As the wife of cosmetics heir Leonard Lauder -- the chairman emeritus of Estée Lauder Companies, one of the most successful cosmetics brands in the world, founded by and named after his mother -- Evelyn Lauder chose to dedicate much of her life to breast health.

One of the co-creators of the ubiquitous Pink Ribbon campaign, she was at the forefront of the breast health movement. In 1993 she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has raised more than $350 million to help fight the disease.

But on Saturday, cancer -- the disease she spent so much of her life trying to stop from killing so many people -- took her life as well. Lauder died of nongenetic ovarian cancer she was diagnosed with in 2007, the New York Times reports.

The company's website confirmed her passing on its homepage, which reads In Memoriam - We celebrate Her Beautiful Life - Evelyn H. Lauder 1936-2011.

Ellen Borakov of the New York City Coroner's Office said the office was not notified of her death.

Her death wasn't reported to our office. We only get the unexpected or unusual deaths, Borakov said Sunday morning. Her death was more of natural causes, I believe.

Estée Lauder corporate representatives did not immediately return requests for comment Sunday morning.

Lauder worked for the family business for many years after marrying her husband in 1959, according to the Times, and was taken under Estée Lauder's wing. She eventually worked in many spheres at the company, rising to positions including senior corporate vice president of fragrance development worldwide, and director of new products and marketing, according to the Times.

Evelyn Lauder was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, the Time reports, and she used her prominent position to speak out about women's health and cancer.

Born on Aug. 12, 1936 in Vienna, Evelyn Hauser fled Hitler's Austria two years later for Belgium, then England, then in 1940, New York, the Times reports. She grew up in the beauty world, as her father was a diamond cutter then the owner of a five-store dress shop chain in New York called Lamay, the Times said.