1981 - 2021
Sebastian Morel-Ferreira, a celebrity fitness trainer, passed away unexpectedly on February 18, 2021. He was 39 years old. Sebastian was born Ricardo Sebastian Morel-Ferreira in Asunción, Paraguay on December 23, 1981. After serving in the Paraguayan Army Reserves, he studied business administration and marketing at Universidad Nacional de Asunción. In 2008, Sebastian immigrated to New York City in pursuit of his dreams. It was there that he met the love of his life, Ryan. They married in 2012 on a rooftop in New York City surrounded by family and friends. Sebastian became a U.S. citizen in 2018, a distinction he held in high regard.
A longtime fitness enthusiast, Sebastian pursued a career as a personal trainer before venturing out on his own. In 2016, Sebastian launched his fitness and lifestyle brand, Sebastian Fitness. Known for his charisma and ability to motivate his clients beyond what they thought possible, Sebastian quickly became one of the most in-demand fitness specialists in the country. To reach more people in his community, he founded The Pack-a unique and all-inclusive fitness class. Sebastian appeared as a special guest on the TODAY Show and Despierta America, and as a fitness advisor for the New York Post and Fitness Magazine, among other media outlets. Sebastian broke into the international community at People en Español as a fitness and lifestyle personality for the television show People VIP. In Paraguay, he appeared on numerous talk shows including Viva La Vida and La Manana Express.
Sebastian's greatest joy was being a husband and father. In 2019, he and his husband welcomed their son, Máximo, into the world. Every night, Sebastian would tell his son at bedtime "Máximo, you were born for greatness"-above all else, Máximo was his greatest achievement.
Sebastian leaves a legacy of being an eternal optimist with a passion for life and adventure. He had a gift for bringing people together and creating community, for he firmly believed that love is a universal thread that binds people from every country, culture, and walk of life. His friendships were brilliant and deep, and being Sebastian's friend meant becoming a part of his extended family through which lifelong bonds were made. He was a devoted father, a loving spouse, an adoring son, a big brother, a proud uncle, an incredible friend, and a relentless trainer. He will forever be remembered for his infectious smile, giving heart and unwavering enthusiasm.
Sebastian is survived by his husband, Ryan Steinman, their son, Máximo, his parents Rosa Ferreira and Ricardo Morel, brothers Diego and Christian Morel-Ferreira, and nephews Joaquin Morel-Orué and Justin Steinman. He was preceded in death by his abuela (grandmother), Estefana Ferreira. Sebastian leaves behind extended family in Asunción and Michigan, and countless friends from around the world, whom he considered family.
In lieu of flowers, consider a contribution towards Máximo's educational opportunities: https://gofund.me/c352aa83. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. As Sebastian would say: "Get out there and do something amazing for yourself!"
Published in New York Times from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20, 2021.