Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm died Saturday from what her family believes were complications from Lyme Disease. It’s not clear how long the socialite and artist had been experiencing symptoms of the disease, however, her father explained to reporters that the disease had greatly affected her life.

Hamm’s father, Barry Kieselstein Cord, is a famous luxury goods and jewelry designer who founded the brand Kieselstein-Cord in 1972. He explained that “Lyme never leaves, it appears in one form or another, it is an insidious and miserable disease.”

He added that “despite various treatments over the years, [Lyme Disease] continued to manifest itself in countless ways,” within Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm’s body. He admitted that “regardless” of the challenges, “Elisabeth fought it, and continued on in her many creative endeavors.”

Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm died at age 41. What happened to the socialite and artist? Her family believes it was complications with Lyme Disease.
Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm died at age 41. What happened to the socialite and artist? Her family believes it was complications with Lyme Disease. Photo Credit: BACKGRID

Hamm’s family did not explain when she was diagnosed with the illness. Barry Kieselstein Cord explained that “our entire extended family is crushed by the loss of our daughter who was one of the most caring, brightest and talented personalities ever to be a proud New Yorker. The loss to us, and to her close friends, and those who knew Elisabeth on a world stage, is quite palpable.”

What is Lyme Disease?

While it’s not clear when Hamm was infected with Lyme Disease, the CDC explained that the disease is only transmitted through infected black-legged ticks. The ticks can attach to the body, especially in hard-to-see areas, and transmit the disease through a bite. However, in most cases, the tick must be attached for “36 to 48 hours or more before the disease bacterium can be transmitted,” according to the CDC.

What is Lyme Disease? Invisible disability claimed the life of beloved socialite and artist.
What is Lyme Disease? Invisible disability claimed the life of a beloved socialite and artist. Photo Credit: BACKGRID

Can You Cure Lyme Disease?

If caught soon enough, Lyme Disease can be treated with antibiotics. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, the disease can be completely irradicated. Treatment can also help prevent late Lyme disease. The issue is that most people do not take the proper precautions regarding the disease. Precautions include steps to prevent the disease by “using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat,” the CDC listed.

It’s also important to be vigilant, especially when out in nature. Those who received a tick bite or have the tell-tale signs of the disease such as the Erthyma migrans rash that looks like a bulls-eye on the body should contact a doctor immediately. Other early signs include “fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes,” according to the CDC.

Without timely treatment, Lyme Disease can develop into Post-Treatment Lyme Disease, also known as chronic Lyme Disease. This can also be developed by those who have been treated for the disease but developed an “auto-immune” response causing long-lasting symptoms. It can wreak havoc on somebody’s life.

Other Famous People Who Faced Lyme Disease

For Elisabeth Kieselstein Cord Hamm, its complications may have resulted in her death. For others, such as Yolanda Hadid and two of her daughters, it has been an “invisible disability.” The former model and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star previously opened up about her experiences with the illness.

Though Yolanda Hadid is in remission with the disease, she did explain that her decadelong journey with the disease was “an absolute nightmare.” She said that “this disease brought me to my knees. Many nights I wished to die, and prayed I would just be free of the pain. If it weren’t for my children, I don’t think I would be here today.”

Yolanda Hadid and her daughter Bella Hadid have struggled with Lyme Disease for years. Yolanda claimed that it has been an "invisible disability."
Yolanda Hadid and her daughter Bella Hadid have struggled with Lyme Disease for years. Yolanda claimed that it has been an “invisible disability.” Photo Credit: Instagram

She admitted that “like with many chronic diseases and mental health issues, the unfortunate truth is that you appear to be healthy on the outside, which is difficult for people to reconcile. It’s much easier for us to have compassion for somebody with visible external symptoms.”

Yolanda Hadid continued, saying that “most people still don’t seem to believe that chronic Lyme disease even exists. As the saying goes: you don’t truly get it until you get it.”

Thankfully the former model is in remission and uses her platform to spread awareness about the disease. “I always say that we have to turn our mess into a message,” she said during an interview with Vogue.

She was speaking about her daughter Bella Hadid who also has Lyme Disease. “We’re both convinced that we shouldn’t just use our platforms to post selfies,” she continued. “We also try to use them as amplifiers to give a voice to those who can’t be heard. By sharing the more uncomfortable parts of our lives, we have the power to raise awareness.”

Do you know anyone who has struggled with Lyme disease? Let us know in the comments section below.