MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters confirmed on May 5 the death of her sister Franje.
Franje was born with cerebellar agenesis, which according to the website raredisease.org "is a descriptive term implying complete absence of the cerebellum."
The South African beauty queen wrote: "My little Princess, Angel on Earth, biggest joy and baby sister, Franje, passed away earlier today. Our hearts are aching beyond measure but I am grateful knowing she’s forever relieved of the pain she experienced on earth. She’s laughing, running and playing in heaven just like we always hoped she would on earth. She’s free! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support."
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (@demileighnp) on May 4, 2019 at 1:01pm PDT
Demi's fiance Tim Tebow also remembered Franje.
"Our loss but heavens gain. So grateful for the hope we have of being reunited with the ones we love through our Heavenly Father. Mr & Mrs Peters and @demileighnp we are praying for you and love you so much."
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tim Tebow (@timtebow) on May 4, 2019 at 6:37pm PDT
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers also posted messages of support for Demi.
In a previous interview before becoming Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh said that Franje was one of her motivators in life.
"I have a 10-year-old half-sister, Franje. She is my dad and stepmom's daughter. She was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator in life [and she has the most beautiful lashes any girl can dream of]." –Rappler.com