Reeva Steenkamp was shot four times on Valentine's Day in Oscar Pistorius's home in Pretoria. Photograph: Handout/Reuters
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Reeva Steenkamp, who was to have given a talk on Thursday at a Johannesburg school, had become a celebrity in her own right, said publicist Sarit Tomlinson. She was one of FHM magazine's 100 Sexiest Women in the World for two years running, appeared in international and South African advertisements and was a celebrity contestant on Tropika Island of Treasure, a South African reality show. She was also the South African face of Avon cosmetics.
She was "continuously breaking the model stereotype", Tomlinson said, adding that Steenkamp was "the sweetest, kindest, just angelic soul" and "a very inspiring individual, very passionate about speaking about women and empowerment".
Police said she was shot four times in the early hours of Valentine's Day. They said only Steenkamp and Pistorius were at his house in a gated complex in Pretoria, the capital. Police have arrested Pistorius on a charge of murder and said he will appear in court on Friday. The two had been dating for a few months.
Scores of tributes were posted online. Her publicist said Steenkamp was 29 but police said she was 30.
On Thursday morning Steenkamp had been scheduled to give a motivational speech to school students in Johannesburg. "It was about empowerment and inspiration and what inspires you and how to follow your dreams," said Tomlinson, who had Steenkamp's notes for the speech.
On Twitter Steenkamp posted messages urging women to stand up against rape as well as her excitement about Valentine's Day.
"What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow?" she tweeted. "It should be a day of love for everyone."
Her last tweet was an enthusiastic acceptance of a friend's invitation to celebrate the day with chocolate cupcakes topped with red hearts.
She also used her Twitter account to encourage her thousands of followers to combat sexual abuse and violence against women.
"WEAR BLACK THIS FRIDAY IN SUPPORT AGAINST #RAPE," she retweeted hours before she died.
Steenkamp tweeted four days ago as outrage was sparked in South Africa by the particularly brutal rape and murder of a 17-year-old: "I woke up in a happy safe home this morning. Not everyone did. Speak out against the rape of individuals in SA. RIP Anene Booysen #rape #crime #sayNO."
Source: The AP