Family and friends of transgender reality TV star and model Miriam Rivera have opened up about her death earlier this year at age 38.
Rivera was found dead of an apparent suicide in Mexico in February. But those close to her have voiced suspicions this week about her true cause of death, the Daily Mail reported.
In 2004, Miriam headlined reality TV show There’s Something About Miriam. On the show, six men battled to win the heart of the-then 21-year-old before it was revealed that she was a transgender woman.
The controversial show aired in Australia and was later sued by the male competitors. Miriam went on to make a guest appearance on Big Brother Australia’s fourth season.
Now Miriam’s husband, Daniel Cuervo, has told the Daily Mail he suspects Miriam met with foul play and her death had been “passed off” as a suicide.
“On the morning of February 5, Miriam called me [in New York] from Mexico, telling me she was feeling sick and vomiting blood,” Cuervo said.
“I told her to get to the hospital. She called me again before leaving the hospital at 12pm and that was the last time we spoke.”
Just a few hours later, Miriam was found dead at her home.
Husband claims he was threated after Miriam’s death
When organising Miriam’s funeral, Cuervo claimed an unknown male called him and said: “Don’t come back to Mexico or we’ll kill you too.”
He later found out her body had already been cremated, leaving no opportunity to perform an autopsy.
Miriam’s death shocked friend Jeanett Ortoft. Ortroft told the Daily Mail her friend was “looking forward” to the future.
“Some say she was killed for going against human trafficking, others say that she took her own life,” she said.
“The last time I was on the phone with her, a few weeks before her death, she told me she was just about to finish a degree and was looking forward to that. She told me she wanted to write a book about her life.”
In Febuary, Ortoft wrote on Facebook that Miriam was “the shiniest star on earth”.
“The news about you been taken away from this world far too early and in this way broke my heart and left me in shock and tears,” she wrote.
“Your life was too short, but you sure made it remarkable.”
In 2010, Miriam told a UK tabloid she was working as an escort in London to pay medical bills stemming from a violent assault three years earlier in New York.
Appearing on Big Brother Australia, Miriam told host Gretel Killeen about growing up as a trans woman in Mexico.
“You have to be really strong. I went through a lot,” she said.
“You have no idea what I went through. It’s not even funny. But I’m a strong woman.”
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