associated press file photo


Model Eliana Ramos is shown in a January, 2005 file photo.


Two Uruguayan sisters, both models, have died of apparent heart attacks within months of each other in a family tragedy drawing attention as the fashion world debates how to protect the health of painfully thin runway models.

Eliana Ramos, 18, was found dead at her grandparents’ home in the Uruguayan capital on Tuesday, authorities said. Her sister Luisel, 22, died shortly after stepping down from a runway last August during a fashion show here.

While no medical report was immediately released after the latest death, Judge Roberto Timbal told the respected online news outlet Observa that Eliana Ramos died of a heart attack. An autopsy on her sister Luisel found that she too died of a heart attack.

Fellow models said that neither sister suffered from an eating disorder.

However, the girls’ deaths at such young ages prompted widespread media attention in Latin America, where the fashion industry’s treatment of young women has been the subject of a lively debate since anorexia was blamed for the deaths of 21-year-old model Ana Carolina Reston and three other Brazilian women in December.