Puerto Rico's Miss Universe 1970 Marisol Malaret dies aged 73

Miss Universe 1970 Marisol Malaret Contreras from Puerto Rico passed away at the age of 73 on Sunday.

The former beauty queen turned television personality became the first Puerto Rican and Caribbean woman to win the Miss Universe pageant on July 11, 1970, at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Miami Beach, Florida.

She was only 20 years old, an executive secretary in the Puerto Rico Telephone Company, when she was crowned by her predecessor Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969 from the Philippines.

Following her historic victory, she was honored with what was considered until then one of the biggest welcomings ever at San Juan. It was reported that around 50,000 people turned out to her homecoming.

Marisol appeared on the covers of countless international and Puerto Rican magazines and took part in numerous advertising campaigns.

The auburn-haired, blue-green-eyed beauty was married three times. Her first marriage was to former male model Butch James, the second was to musician Corky Stroman with whom she had her only child, daughter, Sasha, and her third was to Cuban-born engineer, Frank Cué.

"So saddened to hear to news of Miss Universe 1970, Marisol Malaret’s passing. I met her when she judged for us in Puerto Rico. I had just become president. She could not have been more gracious and helpful, sitting with me for hours and answering all of my questions and giving me her candid advice," shared Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart.

Paula added, "She was a very special woman, the embodiment of beautifully confident."

Heartwarming tributes poured in for much-loved Marisol, especially from her fellow Puerto Rican Miss Universe winners.

Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres shared: "I always looked up to her, she was always my role model, a worthy representative of Puerto Rican women. My reason for dreaming since I was little in wanting to be Miss Universe."

"I thank God and life for the joy of having met her, to have worked with her, and to be able to call her my friend," she added.

"Puerto Rico today loses one of its great treasures, but its legacy and the glory it gave us will last forever."

Photos: Miss Universe

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