Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst has passed away, her family confirmed in a statement. She was 30 years old.
According to the NYPD, Kryst, who won the crown in 2019; died on Sunday morning (Jan. 30) after falling from a 60-story building in Manhattan and said she likely died by suicide. The beauty queen lived on the building’s ninth floor and was last seen out on a terrace on the 29th floor, The New York Post writes.
Kryst’s family confirmed the sad news in a statement on Sunday to PEOPLE.
“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie,” they said. “Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.”
“Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on Extra. But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague – we know her impact will live on,” the statement continued.
Kryst, who worked as an attorney, was licensed to practice law in both North and South Carolina. She practiced civil litigation and worked to reform America’s criminal justice system by reducing the prison sentences of inmates who were unjustly punished.
“Our hearts are broken. Cheslie was not just a vital part of our show, she was a beloved part of our Extra family and touched the entire staff,” it read, adding that the company sends its “deepest condolences to all her family and friends.”
Kryst was crowned Miss USA as Miss North Carolina in May of 2019. That year, she was part of a historic group of Black women — Nia Imani Franklin, who was crowned Miss America; Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA; and Zozibini Tunzi, crowned Miss Universe — who became the first four Black women to all hold titles at the same time.
Later that year; Kryst, Garris and Tunzi discussed their historic feat with “Good Morning America.”
“People will comment on our social media and be like, ‘Why are we talking about your race? You guys are just four amazing women.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, we are four amazing women, but there was a time when we literally could not win!'” Kryst said at the time.
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