Jamaica’s 2011 Miss Universe beauty queen and ambassador Shakira Martin passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 3, at the Memorial West Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
“My darling princess Shakira Aminah passed away at 12.28am from complications from sickle cell blood clots to both lungs,” her mother Andrea Hall wrote on Facebook.
Her death was also confirmed by close friend Laura Butler, who said she had been taken off life support.
“Shakira is gone,” said Butler, who described the beauty as a sister.
Martin, 30, had been on life support for some time after a lifelong battle with sickle cell anaemia.
In an emotional Facebook post from her mother Andrea Hall hours ago, Jamaicans were urged not to take the hereditary blood disease lightly – as leading up to her death, Shakira was an active advocate for sickle cell awareness in Jamaica and sections of the United States.
“As I sit here with my daughter Shakira Aminah on life support saying goodbye with family and friends. Sickle cell is no joke, please [be] aware, learn about it. Support someone. God bless you Shakira Martin, I love you eternally,” Hall wrote.
Hundreds of Jamaicans, including the local advocacy group the Sickle Cell Support Foundation of Jamaica, extended their heartfelt condolences to Martin’s family and close friends.
Shakira Martin represented Jamaica in the 2011 staging of Miss Universe in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Before her entry into pageantry, Martin worked as a preschool teacher for many years – driven by hoping to inspire the young minds of future generations.
At every opportunity, Shakira championed awareness for sickle cell anaemia, and told of her personal fight with the disease having been diagnosed at 3 months old.
During her reign, she had the opportunity to spread “Brand Jamaica” around the world. She has modelled in Jamaica, Brazil, New York, Miami, Canada and Haiti.
By all accounts, Shakira was determined to see her dreams of becoming a Humanitarian, role model, and inspiration on generations to come manifest into reality. “She had the soul of a warrior and the heart of an angel with a passion for people and seeing a better tomorrow,” one woman wrote.
“The things that I want to accomplish, may be ‘cliche’ for a beauty queen, but those are the things that are genuinely in my heart. World peace, a solution to starvation, hugging trees and all that jazz. It’s all a part of the plan,” were some profound words from Shakira Martin from her Facebook page.