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Former Miss USA Dies In Fall From Luxury Manhattan High-Rise

Cheslie Kryst, 30, was discovered “unconscious and unresponsive,” on the street below a 60-story luxury apartment building on 42nd Street Sunday morning.

By Jill Sederstrom
Former Miss USA Dies After Jumping From Building

Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst died Sunday morning after apparently leaping from her high-rise Manhattan apartment building. 

Kryst, who was crowned Miss USA in 2019, was just 30 years old.

Det. Annette Shelton, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department, told Oxygen.com that Kryst's body was discovered on the street below the luxury 60-story Orion building on 42nd Street at approximately 7:13 a.m. Sunday morning.

She was found “unconscious and unresponsive,” on the ground and was later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

“The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing,” Shelton said.

Kryst, who lived on the ninth floor of the building, was last seen alone on the building’s terrace on the 29th floor, according to The New York Post.

Just before her death, Kryst—who also served as a reporter and host on the television show “Extra”—penned a final post on Instagram Sunday morning.

“May this day bring you rest and peace,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself.  

Kryst also reportedly left behind a note leaving all of her belongings to her mother, the news Post reports.

Her death has sent shockwaves through the pageant community and those who worked alongside her at the celebrity-driven news program.

Former Miss South Carolina winner Makenzie Divina, who competed against Kryst in the 2019 Miss USA pageant, took to Instagram Sunday afternoon to remember her friend.

Cheslie I hope you knew how loved you were. I can never begin to understand how you were feeling but what I can rest with is knowing the amazing person you were and how your legacy will continue on forever,” she wrote alongside a photo of the pair.

“The impact you had on so many people including myself was incredible,” she continued. “You left people better than you found them. The world will never be the same without you. I’ll love you forever…. Until we meet again Cheslie.”

“Extra” host Billy Bush also memorialized Kryst on Instagram.

“The @extratv family grieves with the family @chesliekryst. She was positive, hardworking, fun and of course beautiful,” he wrote. “Always dancing in between takes. This is a complete shock to all. We are left with great sadness because the best was definitely yet to come for this special person.

Kryst’s family also confirmed her death in a statement to CNN.

"In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie," her family said. "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."

Kryst held the Miss USA title longer than any previous winner because of the COVID-19 pandemic and spent her 557 days as Miss USA lending her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement and partnering with charity organizations aimed at helping women dress for success, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Kryst told the paper in 2020 she first fell in love with the pageant world when she watched her mother, April Simpkins, win the title of Mrs. North Carolina U.S. in 2002.

Kryst was also an attorney, who was licensed to practice in two states after earning both her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University.

In her role as an attorney, she had worked to reform America’s justice system by helping prisoners who received unjust sentences reduce their time behind bars, CNN reports.

Last year, Kryst penned a lengthy essay in Allure on the challenges of getting older and turning 30 in a culture focused on youth.

“Each time I say ‘I’m turning 30,’ I cringe a little,” she wrote. “Sometimes I can successfully mask this uncomfortable response with excitement; other times, my enthusiasm feels hollow, like bad acting. Society has never been kind to those growing old, especially women.”

While she noted her numerous achievements, she added that “turning 30 feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter in society’s eyes” and described it as “infuriating.”

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