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‘Forever Miss USA’: Tributes Pour In Following the Death of Former Pageant Queen Cheslie Kryst

Former 2019 Miss USA winner and “Extra” news correspondent Cheslie Kryst has died, her family confirmed. She was 30 years old. 

According to a statement from authorities obtained by the New York Post, Kryst died on Sunday, Jan. 30, after jumping from a 60-story building at 350 W. 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York, around 7:15 am. The outlet reported that the beauty pageant lived on the ninth floor of the Orion building and was last spotted on a 29th-floor terrace. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 30: Cheslie Kryst attends the “Gossip Girl” New York Premiere at Spring Studios on June 30, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)

The outlet reported that Kryst was alone at the time of the incident and that she left behind a note leaving everything to her mother.

Kryst’s family confirmed the news, telling People in a statement, “In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie. 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.”

The statement added, “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.”

Tributes have already begun to pour in after news of Kryst’s death was revealed, including a statement from her “Extra” family who expressed their “deepest condolences to all her family and friends” in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Sunday.

“Our hearts are broken,” the statement read. “Cheslie was not just a vital part of our show, she was a beloved part of our ‘Extra’ family and touched the entire staff.”

In a statement posted to its official Twitter account, The Miss America Org wrote “We are heartbroken to hear about the passing of Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019.” They added, “Cheslie was an incredible example and a role model for so many. We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all those who knew her.”

The former Division I athlete and attorney made history in May 2019 after being crowned Miss USA as Miss North Carolina. The model and three other beauty pageant participants — Miss America’s Nia Imani Franklin, Miss Teen USA’s Kaliegh Garris and Miss Universe’s Zozibini Tunzi  — became the first group of Black women to hold the titles in a single year.

“Cheslie my friend, I am devastated,” Tunzi wrote in an Instagram tribute. “I didn’t sleep a wink, caught in between not believing the news and trying to make sense of what is happening. You were supposed to send me photos of the outfit you were going to wear to a wedding this past Saturday and all the details that happened at the event. You took me by surprise Queen. I am not ready for a world you don’t exist in.”

Tunzi continued: “I hope you are resting easy now love. You meant everything to so many people and you forever will. You made a mark in this World and touched so many lives. We celebrate your life. I love you so, so much my forever friend and forever Miss USA.” 

Just hours before her death, Kryst shared a photo on Instagram with the caption, “May this day bring you rest and peace.”

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