Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 winner of the Miss USA pageant and a correspondent for the entertainment news program “Extra,” has died at age 30. The Medical Examiner has confirmed her death.
Police said Kryst jumped from a Manhattan apartment building and was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday morning. Her family confirmed her death in a statement.
The former Miss USA’s death has been ruled a suicide, the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to PEOPLE Tuesday. She was 30 years old.
Following her death Sunday, the Extra correspondent’s family remembered her for inspiring others “around the world with her beauty and strength,” they wrote 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,” her family said.
They added that “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.”
Kryst was also an attorney with an MBA, crowned Miss USA as Miss North Carolina in May 2019. She went on to finish in the top 10 of the Miss Universe 2019 competition.
That year, she and three other women — Nia Imani Franklin (Miss America) Kaliegh Garris (Miss Teen USA), and Zozibini Tunzi (Miss Universe) — became the first group of Black women in pageant history to hold all four major titles in a single year. (People)
On Sunday, the Miss America official Twitter account issued a statement on Kryst’s death.
We are heartbroken to hear about the passing of Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019. 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. pic.twitter.com/V7ZbKTCXZx
— The Miss America Org (@MissAmerica) January 30, 2022
Shortly after earning the Miss USA title, Kryst represented the United States at the Miss Universe competition in 2019 and earned a spot in the top 10.
Miss Universe Albania 2019 Cindy Marina, who competed together with Kryst, shared a tribute to her own Instagram account, expressing that it was “difficult to understand why.”
“I met Cheslie a few times before Miss Universe and was in awe of her kindness, her grace, and of course her intelligence,” Marina wrote. “When she spoke, people stopped and listened. I admired her for her tenacity and her determination to rise despite whatever odds may be stacked against you.”
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