MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Two sisters, both models, have died of apparent heart attacks within months of each other — a family tragedy that came as the fashion world debates how to protect the health of painfully thin runway models.
Eliana Ramos, 18, was found dead at her grandparent's home in the Uruguayan capital Tuesday, officials said. Her sister Luisel, 22, died shortly after stepping off a runway last Aug. 2 during a fashion show in Montevideo.
While no medical report was immediately released after Eliana's death, Judge Roberto Timbal told the online news outlet Observa that she died of a heart attack. An autopsy on her sister found she died of a heart attack.
The judge told Observa that "nothing out of the ordinary" appeared to be involved in Eliana's death, but that an autopsy was conducted and final test results would be issued in a month.
Other models said neither sister suffered from an eating disorder.
However, the deaths drew widespread media attention in Latin America, where the fashion industry's treatment of young women has been the subject of debate since anorexia was blamed for the deaths of model Ana Carolina Reston and three other Brazilian women in December.
The sisters' father, Luis Ramos, is a former soccer player for Uruguayan squad Nacional, and was reportedly vacationing with his wife elsewhere in the country at the time of Eliana's death.
Lucia Brocal, a model who shared the runway with Eliana, dismissed speculation that poor eating habits were linked to her death. "I'm indignant," she said of some local reports speculating about the death. "She died for the same reasons her sister did."
Erika Fallen, another model, also rejected speculation that an eating disorder could have played a role. "Whenever something happens, they try to relate it to eating problems. But she died just like her sister did," she said.