Texas’ first Black Miss USA passed away on Saturday after battling liver cancer.
Friends and family mourned the loss of 45-year-old Chelsi Smith, who was a triple pageant winner. The Deer Park native was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and died at her mother’s home in Pennsylvania Saturday afternoon, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Chelsi Smith has passed away following a protracted illness,” Smith’s family stated. “While we mourn the loss of this vivacious and kind-hearted woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young women around the world that their dreams are possible through a loving heart and an enlightened mind.”
Smith was crowned Miss Universe in the 1995 Namibia competition. She was also the first Black woman to win the Miss Texas USA pageant. The beauty queen spent her remaining years working as a pageant coach while living in Houston.
“Chelsi was our loving daughter, niece, and friend. We will miss her infectious laughter, joie de vivre, and free spirit. She left an indelible mark on all those who knew her,” said Smith’s family.
The beauty queen is survived by her mother, Mary Denise Trimble, and aunt Paulette Trimble. Smith’s memorial service has yet to be announced.