Here is the story of Emma Livry, a young french dancer who tragically died. She is not actually really phantom related, but you can see that Leroux knew about her when he wrote his masterpiece.
French dancer. She was perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Romantic era. She studied at the Paris Opera School and later with Taglioni, making her debut aged sixteen with the Paris Opera as the sylphide in 'La Sylphide'. She was appointed to premiere danseuse that same year. A dancer of an unusually light poetic quality alhough not especially pretty, a wonderfully sucessful career seemed to be guaranteed. She created roles in only three works, including M. Taglioni's 'Le Papillon' in 1860 which was made just for her as Taglioni was so impressed with her talent. Sadly the rising stars career was cut short by a tragic accident. Romantic dancers would wear long, billowing, well-layered tulle skirts and because stages were lit by gas lamps they were advised to wear fire proof yet unattractive muslin for their own safety. Emma declined to wear it and the mistake cost her life. During a rehearsal of 'The Dumb Girl of Portici', her skirt caught on fire and although her colleagues and friends managed to smother it, Emma was serverly burnt and eight months later passed away. Her luminous career and life was extinguished at only twenty-one.
Here is a picture of her: