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Rosario Dawson Speaks Out on the Death of Her 26-Year-Old Cousin

Christina Marfice

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Christina is a reporter based in Boise, Idaho. She's a veteran vegetarian, a political junkie and a huge grammar snob. On the weekends, she can usually be found binging on Netflix, playing the piano or petting her cats, Daisy and Dandelion.

Rosario Dawson's cousin died suddenly & tragically young

Updated May 25, 2017, 8:40 a.m. PT: Rosario Dawson has finally addressed the death of her 26-year-old cousin, whom Dawson found unresponsive in her home.

She gave her first interview since the scary incident on AOL's Build series, saying that her cousin's death taught her to "never take anything for granted" and "to constantly be working on yourself and take advantage of every moment."

"I've been dealing with a lot of loss lately and reconnecting with my family and my friends in a different way. I'm realizing how much I've pulled myself back, and I've been just really humbled by this opportunity tonight," Dawson said as she fought back tears. "They're giving me an award and it's recognizing all of the achievements and things I've done with the organization, which is amazing. And I'm humbled by those achievements, but I'm also really humbled by my failures."

She continued, "Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and you want to make sure the people that you love know that, and that you're doing things with your time that you're proud of, because it goes by so fast. It gets really easy to get caught up in the minutiae, but then you're sitting in the Girls Club and you're zooming off into the your own universe and back, and you realize, 'I can be so much bigger and so much more.' We're the only ones who are stopping ourselves from having that."

Her cousin's death also made Dawson realize it was time to start working toward some goals she has, she said.

"I'm challenging myself now, still. I want to go back to school. I want to keep growing. I want to keep learning. I want to be a better person. I want to manage my time better. I want to be more organized," she said. "I don't want to be lazy. I don't want to take anything for granted."

She continued, "Even as I'm going through a really emotional and stressful time in my life, I was so grateful to get on the plane to come here today and be here with all of you and celebrate what we have to celebrate, because that's super important. And it's too easy to kind of go down the wormhole — the rabbit hole — and think about the stuff that didn't happen. My cousin just died, Vaneza, and I'm coming up on the six-year anniversary of my grandmother's passing. And from 75 to 26, you just don't know when your time is. And I just don't want to be in any kind of position where I'm looking back going, 'I should've, could've, would've, didn't, damn!'"

Original story:

According to reports, Rosario Dawson found her 26-year-old cousin dead in her home last week.

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E! News reports that Vaneza Ines Vasquez was working for Dawson, who came downstairs in her Venice home to find Vasquez unconscious and unresponsive. Dawson called 911, but paramedics weren't able to revive Vasquez. She was transported to St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica, where doctors pronounced her dead.

TMZ broke the news of Vasquez's death, and according to the site, a toxicology report was run and the results are still pending. According to E! News, no autopsy report has yet been released — officials decided to defer publishing it until they have more details about Vasquez's death. TMZ reported that as of now, all signs point to natural causes — Vasquez suffered from some health problems, including migraines and hypertension, and she was seeing a doctor and had been prescribed medication.

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Members of Vasquez's family have spoken out about the tragedy, including her grandmother, who posted a sweet tribute to Facebook following Vasquez's death.

"This is when Danny broke down and Yoselynn held him. Then several of us walked over to huddle. I threw the blanket over us, creating a fortress to shield us from the strong winds and provide a more intimate experience as we mourned together in the very place Vaneza was the most at peace," she wrote alongside a photo of several members of the family huddled together on the beach. "Vaneza, my sweet, sweet beautiful baby - your passing has left me destroyed forever but I know you are at peace in Paradise. I love you, my alpha child."

More: Rosario Dawson was terrified of becoming a teen mom

Dawson has not publicly commented.

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