Yenisei Kyrgyz model and beauty queen Zhibek Nukeeva, who represented Kyrgyzstan in Miss World 2013, passed away last July 29 after battling myxoid chondrosarcoma. It’s a rare form of cancer that affects bones and joints. She was only 22.
She’d been living in her country’s capital of Bishkek throughout her bout, but was sent to Turkey by her family for treatment. On Christmas Day 2016, a GoFundMe page was launched in an effort to raise funds for further procedure, which would have included proton therapy in Prague. The page raised a total $6,172, but the cancer had already spread throughout her body. She is survived by her husband and her 8-month-old son, Iman.
Zhibek’s official Miss World 2013 video introduction
Zhibek competed in the 63rd edition of the Miss World pageant held in Bali, Indonesia and won by the Philippines‘ Megan Young. Then 18, she was only the second woman to compete in the pageant since its debut in 2011. While she didn’t place, she did get short-listed in the Beach Fashion challenge. In effect, it is her country’s best showing in the pageant to date. There were also rumors that she would bring forth her country’s Miss Universe debut the following year – something which never materialized. Prior to her pageant career, she was a business student who spoke fluent Kyrgyz and French.
Zhibek is now the second candidate from her batch to pass on. In 2015, Austria‘s Ena Kadic died after falling off a cliff while jogging at the Bergisel.
May she rest in peace.