Model Dies After Botched Facial Surgery: Wilevis Brito Was 24

The 2021 Miss Venezuela runner-up suffered complications after undergoing a maxillofacial surgery at a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela.

Venezuelan model Wilevis Brito has died following complications experienced after a facial surgery. The former Miss Venezuela contestant passed away on Monday, April 8 after going into cardiac arrest following a procedure to fix a "small lump" on her top lip. She was 24.

According to local media reports, per the Daily Mail, Brito underwent the procedure at Domingo Luciani Hospital in Caracas on Monday. The procedure was an oral and maxillofacial operation, a reconstructive surgery to correct a disease, injury or defect of the face, jaw or mouth, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Brito reportedly had a lump on her upper lip that was removed. An abrasion on her jaw was also reportedly treated. A friend and fellow beauty pageant contestant told local media that Brito suffered complications after the procedure.

"She was undergoing jaw surgery due to maxillofacial wear and tear and a small lump that formed at the top of her lip. To avoid future complications, she decided to have the surgery. Not for cosmetic or beauty reasons, but for health," the friend said. "She was apparently fine after the operation, but then the complications started."

An investigation into her death is ongoing and her cause of death is not yet known, according to The Sun. Someone who identified himself as Brito's brother online explained that doctors were "draining an abscess and they put her under anesthesia. Unfortunately, she never woke up and went into cardiac arrest ... focus on giving positive comments, not on making judgments that no one asked for."

Brito began her modeling career at a young age, joining the Cerynel Fashion Academy in La Guaira, Venezuela when she was just 8. In 2013, she was crowned Latin Fashion Vargas, going on to be crowned Great Model of the Pacific the following year. After migrating to Argentina years ago to study studied social communication at the Interamerican Open University in Buenos Aires, Brito began working as a presenter for the Argentine news cable channel A24 and its sister station América Tucumán. She eventually returned to her native country and was crowned Queen of Sport of La Guaira, her home city, in 2023. She also notably competed in the 2021 Miss Venezuela in the World pageant, ultimately finishing in the runner-up spot.

Brito, who was also a law student and had tens of thousands of followers on social media, was laid to rest Wednesday. In a statement, La Guaira Governor José Terán said, "we said goodbye to our beloved Wilevis, a young woman who will be remembered for her charisma, her smile and her willingness to give love and help those most in need."