MANHATTAN, NY – Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 Miss USA winner, tragically died Sunday morning after jumping to her death from the New York City luxury high-rise apartment building that he lived in. She was 30 years old.
Kryst, who was working as an attorney, leapt from the 60-story Orion building at 350 W. 42nd St. – she lived on the ninth floor – at approximately 7:15 a.m. Her body was discovered on the sidewalk outside the Orion Condominium building, reports say. She was last seen on a terrace 29 stories above the ground.
Just hours prior to her death, Kryst had posted “May this day bring you rest and peace” on her Instagram page.
Her family confirmed Kryst’s death in a statement released on Sunday, saying that she had “embodied love and served others” and that “her impact will live on.”
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“Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength,” the statement read. “She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.”
The New York Police Department confirmed to the media that Kryst’s death had been ruled a suicide; reports say that she had left behind a note saying that she wanted to leave her personal belongings to her mother.
Kryst originally began competing in beauty pageants when she was a teen after being inspired by her mother, April Simpkins, who had been crowned Mrs. North Carolina US in 2002.
“I didn’t have a lot of friends, I was a nerdy weird kid who just liked to read during class, and it was so cool that people knew my name because of my mom,” she said in an interview. “And so from that moment, I knew I was going to compete at some point in time.”
Just months after she’d been crowned Miss North Carolina USA, she won the 2019 Miss USA title at 28 years-old, the oldest woman ever to do so. She also holds the record for the longest reign at 557 days, due to subsequent pageant delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her personal life, Kryst had earned a law degree and an MBA from Wake Forest University and worked as a civil litigation attorney, and was a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.