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Cheslie Kryst, 30, Former Miss USA, One of Three Black Pageant Winners in Same Year

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FILE - Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst wins the 2019 Miss USA final competition in the Grand Theatre in the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev., on May 2, 2019. (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, File)

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 winner of the Miss USA pageant and a correspondent for the entertainment news program “Extra,” has died at age 30.

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.

When Kryst was crowned, it marked more than a personal triumph: It meant that for the first time, three Black women were the reigning Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America.

Her family said 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. 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,” her family said.

Kryst, a former Division I athlete and North Carolina attorney, won the Miss USA pageant in May, 2019, and competed in the Miss Universe pageant that year.

In a statement Sunday, the nationally syndicated program “Extra” called Kryst “not just a vital part of our show, she was a beloved part of our Extra family and touched the entire staff. Our deepest condolences to all her family and friends.”

University of South Carolina mourned the former student-athlete, calling her “a woman of many talents.” Kryst also held an MBA from Wake Forest University.

According to police, Kryst’s body was found at approximately 7 a.m. Sunday in front of the Orion building, a high-rise on West 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan.

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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for those in distress: 1-800-273-8255.