Cheslie Kryst, the winner of the 2019 Miss USA pageant and correspondent for the entertainment news program “Extra,” has died at age 30.
Police say Kryst jumped from an apartment building in Manhattan and was pronounced dead at the scene on Sunday morning. His family confirmed his death in a statement.
“In devastation and great sadness, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie. Her great light has inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength,” her family said.
“Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as a social justice advocate, as Miss USA, and as a host on EXTRA. But more importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague, we know her impact will last,” her family said.
Kryst, a former Division I athlete and lawyer from North Carolina, won the Miss USA pageant in May 2019 and competed in the Miss Universe pageant that year.
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.
In a statement Sunday, the nationally broadcast program “Extra” described Kryst as “not only a vital part of our show, she was a beloved part of our Extra family and touched the entire staff. Our most sincere condolences to all his family and friends.”
Kryst commented on last month’s Miss Universe pageant, which called her “one of the brightest, warmest, kindest people we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.” Our entire community mourns his loss.
The University of South Carolina has praised the former student-athlete, calling her “a woman of many talents”. Kryst also had an MBA from Wake Forest University.
Police say Kryst’s body was found around 7 a.m. Sunday in front of the Orion Building, a skyscraper on West 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for those in distress: 1-800-273-8255.