Miss Teen Universe tragically dies just after her 20th birthday
Lotte van der Zee was just starting out into the world, but was taken far too soon.
She was given the title of Miss Teen of the Netherlands in September 2016, and in 2017 she was awarded with the title of Miss Teen Universe. Following this win, she went on to begin a prolific career in modelling, but her life was cut far too short, after her sudden death earlier this month.
The Dutch model was on a family skiing trip in Westerndorf, Austria, to celebrated her birthday. However, one day before her 20th birthday, she suffered a heart attack. A few weeks later, she passed away.
Speaking to local newspaper Lim Burger, her parents explained that while she had been out with her friends the night before, she had returned home "cheerfully and without health complaints".
However, the following morning she didn't leave her room to get breakfast, and they discovered her in bed, not feeling well.
Her sickness soon got worse, and they described how the feeling "swiftly escalated in sudden cardiac arrest". The 20-year-old was taken to hospital, where she had to be placed into a medically-induced coma. During her stay, she suffered organ failure, leaving her family with an impossible choice of what to do with her.
Eventually, her parents, Bert van der Zee and Eugeniek van het Hul, made the hard decision to "let her go" on Wednesday March 6. They share a photo of Lotte to her Instagram page following the death, on which they wrote:
"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.
"We would like to thank you all again for all the support and heartwarming messages."
After sharing the tragic news, they were overwhelmed with the support and love they received from others, including Lotte's fans. They greatly appreciated the response, so wrote another message to those who had helped"
“If you share grief with each other you can be sad and happy at the same time. This is something that you have made us experience this past week.
"That is why we want to thank you for all the beautiful messages and for your sincere and loving support. It is wonderful to see how many people are intensely involved with Lotte and with us.
"Even though the feeling of powerlessness made us think that we were in this alone at first we were able to draw a massive amount of strength from all your loving support. We are convinced that Lotte feels this too."
The cause of Lotte’s heart attack is still unknown, but the family have explained that tests will be carried out in the future to try to determine what exactly happened.
Our thoughts go out to Lotte's parents, family, and loved ones in this difficult time.