An autopsy has determined that Brazilian model Tales Soares tragically died last April from an undiagnosed heart condition. The 26-year-old collapsed as he walked the runway during Sao Paulo Fashion Week.
Also known by his true name Tales Cotta, Soares was a rising star in the modeling world. During Sao Paulo Fashion Week, he was working for the fashion house Ocksa when he suddenly took ill. Physicians suspect Soares may have been sick prior to his death and that this may have exacerbated his condition.
The Sun reported that Soares’ autopsy findings were presented by the Legal Medical Forensic Institute which determined the probable cause of death was heart disease leading to acute pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the air spaces around the lungs. The condition results from congestive heart failure. “Tales had a heart disease that perhaps the model himself did not know he had,” the report revealed.
Drugs and Alcohol Were Ruled Out as a Cause of Death
There was initial speculation that Soares’ death may have been caused by substance abuse or anorexia however, no drugs or alcohol were found in his system and there was no indication of any eating disorders. Soares’ family disputed the allegations, saying that he had an excellent diet, studied yoga and enjoyed Crossfit. “I want to clarify these untruths that they are saying about him, drugs or anorexia – this is not true,” sister Alexandra Soares said.
“My son was a ‘golden’ boy. He had no vices. I’m really going to miss him,” mother Heloisa Cotta said. Cotta revealed that she regularly asked her son if he was eating enough and would quiz him about his health. During one of their last conversations, he made it clear that there was plenty of food provided backstage during each show and he was feeling fine.
Soares’ agency, BASE MGT, released a statement defending their client which stated that he had always exhibited “exemplary behavior,” and had never complained about any health problems. “He maintained a healthy diet (he was vegetarian), did not use illicit substances and was in full condition to participate in the fashion show.”
Soares’ agent Rogerio Campaneli said the handsome model had undergone a physical just prior to the show and no medical problems were detected. Campaneli told FocusOne News that doctors who watched the video immediately suspected an undetected congenital heart condition. “From videos, they believe he died on the catwalk,” he said, adding, “It was all so fast; he kissed a friend behind the scenes who was following him, walked out confidently as usual, then suddenly stumbled, lost his footing and fell,” he added.
Audience Members Assumed Soares’ Fall was Part of the Fashion Show
Many audience members assumed Soares’ fall was part of the show, as he pivoted on the runway, then stumbled and collapsed as the other models calmly continued to walk by. Some spectators thought he’d accidentally tripped over the long ribbon laces on his shoes.
It wasn’t until Soares began to foam at the mouth that horrified onlookers realized something was terribly wrong. Video of the episode captured Soares collapse. Attendees can be heard gasping as paramedics ran onto the stage to help the fallen model. The report from paramedics who treated Soares said he was unconscious and in cardiac arrest when they transported him to the hospital and that attempts to use a defibrillator and perform CPR were unsuccessful.
Soares’ Family Was Watching the Show on Television When He Collapsed
Soares had just finished a video chat with his mother Heloisa and sister Gabrielle Gomes before stepping out onto the stage. The two women were watching the show in their home in Manhuacu, approximately 500 miles away from Sao Paulo. Gabrielle said that he told both women he was well and had just finished eating a carrot.”
They witnessed Soares make his way down the catwalk but did not see him return. The broadcast abruptly ended. “My mother called to find out what was going on, they said that Tales had taken ill and had been hospitalized,” Gomes recalled. Soon after, the family was notified of his death.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week organizers initially considered canceling the remainder of the show, however, the designers and models agreed it would be best to continue the event and honor their friend. Soares’ fellow models paid tribute to him at each show by having a moment of silence and holding signs that said “LUTO” (MOURNING) and “AMOR” (LOVE).
Girlfriend Fernanda Rosa also posted tributes online. “Hi my little being full of light and joy, I wanted to go on to say that you will always be in my heart. You took a little piece of each of us, but as always, generous, left a little of yours,” she wrote.
“May God welcome you with open arms! Life is definitely a catwalk, we’re just passing through! Very Sad!” the Sao Paulo Fashion Week organizers posted in Portuguese on Instagram after Soares’ death. “He will be forever in our hearts and memory,” they added.