Former Miss Teen Universe, 20, Dies After Heart Attack: 'Our Hearts are Truly Broken'
Former Miss Teen Universe Lotte van der Zee died on Wednesday, two weeks after having a heart attack while on vacation with her parents. She was 20.
The Dutch model’s death was confirmed by her parents on Thursday, in an emotional Instagram post shared on her personal account.
“Our pearl, our everything passed away on Wednesday evening March 6th at 22:47. It is incredibly surreal that our dearly beloved Lotte is not around us anymore. Our hearts are truly broken 💔,” her parents, Bert van der Zee & Eugeniek van het Hul, wrote, alongside two smiling photos of their child.
Thanking all of their daughter’s friends and fans for their support, they wrote, “We would like to thank you all again for all the support and heartwarming messages.”
Lotte was crowned as Miss Teenager Universe in 2017.
Lotte’s parents first addressed their daughter’s health battle in an Instagram post dated Feb. 22, two days after she went into cardiac arrest. She celebrated her 20th birthday on Feb. 21.
“Dear friends, with the utmost sorrow we want to inform you about the reason behind Lotte’s public absence in recent days. Two days ago, during our holiday in Westendorf – Austria, Lotte started to feel unwell during the afternoon. A feeling that escalated quickly in sudden cardiac arrest,” they wrote.
“She has been taken to the nearest hospital where she is in a coma and is currently being kept to sleep under close supervision of the doctors so that she can monitor her health. Thank you in advance for the loving words about our daughter. We are grateful for the support of everyone and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and positivity in these times when she needs it most,” they continued, sharing the news alongside a smiling photo of the parents kissing Lotte on her cheeks.
One week before her death, Lotte’s parents wrote that their daughter’s health was “unchanged,” but she had been transported to an “academic hospital in Munich, where she is still kept asleep under intensive supervision.”
In an interview with Dutch paper De Limburger, Lotte’s mother shared that although she and her husband hoped their daughter’s health would improve, during the last days of her life, Lotte’s organs began failing.
“It started with her kidneys. She was then put on kidney dialysis, which kept her alive. But when it became clear on Wednesday that it would not be okay, she was taken off the machine,” she said, according to U.K. publication The Evening Standard. “Lotte has had to endure a lot over the past few days. We did not want any further suffering.”
Within 30 minutes after being taken off the machine, Lotte died. A cause of her cardiac arrest has yet to be determined.
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Lotte’s mother went on to tell the Dutch paper that the night before her cardiac arrest, Lotte had gone out with friends and returned to the hotel “cheerfully and without complaints,” according to Fox News.
However, the next morning, Lotte did not attend breakfast with her parents. Her mother found Lotte sick in bed, stayed with her daughter throughout the afternoon and was the one to resuscitate Lotte following her heart attack.
Lotte’s death was also mourned by the Miss Teenager Universe pageant, which posted a touching tribute on their Instagram page.
“Losing someone we loved is not easy, but knowing that we have been able to be part of her life, it has been amazing journey, we now realize that we were blessed we share your life and career with us.” they wrote. “Our deepest condolences to your family and friends.”