Third runner-up in the Miss Lebanon 2016 competition, Michele Hajal, died on Monday from cancer, aged 25.
Hajal's sister Paula announced the tragic news in a Facebook post in which she wrote: "Keep smiling from up above", before posting Hajal's funeral notice later on.
Hajal was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2018, which is cancer that affects the immune system. Hajal launched a campaign called #FightWithMichele in order to raise $750,000 (Dh2.7 million) for treatment in the United States after her treatment in Lebanon had been unsuccessful.
Hajal received 2 months of treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas On January 1 of this year, she announced to her supporters via Instagram that she was "cancer free". She wrote: "After two months of pain and stress, I am in complete remission now.". Sadly, life-threatening disease returned. But, until only just a few months ago, Hajal continued to show her strength and courage by posting inspirational messages and videos on her Instagram.
Celebrities and supporters have been paying their respects and tributes to Hajal. Lebanese star Nancy Ajram tweeted: "Words cannot express the sadness in my heart. Rest in peace beautiful soul!" Lebanese singer Elissa, who has also recently spoken out about her battle with cancer, wrote: "You are a hero in the eyes of everyone."
Lebanese poet Ali Mawla even wrote and dedicated a poem to Hajal using the hashtag #You_are_stronger_than_cancer in Arabic.