Cheslie Kryst’s mom shares never knowing ‘pain as deep’ after cause of death confirmed
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled that the attorney and former Miss USA died by suicide.
Two days after former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst died, the official cause of death has been confirmed following an autopsy.
As previously reported by theGrio, Kryst, who was crowned Miss USA as Miss North Carolina in May 2019, is alleged to have died by suicide on Sunday. She was reportedly alone in her ninth-floor unit in the 60-story Orion building when she went to the 29th floor, at approximately 7:15 a.m., and lept to her death, found later in the streets below, sources told The Post.
“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie,” Kryst’s family said in a statement Sunday to The Hollywood Reporter. “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,” her family added. “But most importantly as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague — we know her impact will live on.”
Kryst’s mother, April Simpkins, shared her pain in a statement on Wednesday. The grieving mother shared that her daughter was privately battling depression.
“I have never known a pain as deep as this. I am forever changed,” the statement began.
“Today, what our family and friends privately knew was the cause of death of my sweet baby girl, Cheslie, was officially confirmed. While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone – including me, her closest confidant – until very shortly before her death.”
Simpkins continued that Kryst’s legacy would be a lasting one.
“While her life on this earth was short, it was filled with many beautiful memories. We miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, her sense of humor and mostly her hugs. We miss all of it – we miss all of her. She was a vital part of our family which makes this loss even more devastating,” she said.
“Cheslie – to the world, you were a ball of sunshine wrapped in smiles. We talked, FaceTimed or texted one another all day, every day. You were more than a daughter – you were my very best friend. Talking with you was one of the best parts of my day. Your smile and laugh were infectious.”
Simpkins shared that she’d miss her daughter tremendously and how others could help during this time.
“I love you baby girl with all my heart. I miss you desperately. I know one day we’ll be together again. Until then, rest easy and in peace,” she said.
“In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Dress for Success, an organization that was dear to her heart. If you or anyone else is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. “
The statement concluded with Simpkins declaring, “Thank you all for continuing to respect the privacy of our family while we grieve.”
In the days since her tragic passing, several of Kryst’s celebrity friends took to social media to pay tribute, theGrio reported.
Kryst’s friend Kenya Moore wrote on Instagram on Jan. 31: “We were always texting and talking and in constant contact laughing and sharing. She was a glorious human being and so sweet and caring I just can’t deal with this. She made me so proud to call her my sister and the world proud. A true role model I looked up to HER!”
Loni Love, a co-host of The Real, tweeted a video of herself and Kryst, writing, “This is how I will remember #CheslieKryst.. smart, beautiful and talented.. I wish we had more time …Such a wonderful young woman.. Condolences and prayers to her family.”
“Being a witness to Cheslie’s strength was an unforgettable experience and hearing her share the journey to Miss USA was so special,” Tamron Hall wrote on Twitter, calling the news of her death “deeply painful.”
Actress Danielle Brooks shared info for the National Suicide Prevention hotline, writing, “This. Saddens me deeply. ?Life can be so hard but please don’t give up on it. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 You are not alone.”
Born to an African-American mother (a former Mrs. North Carolina pageant winner) and a Polish father, Kryst, who was also an attorney with an MBA, told theGrio she identifies as Black but struggled during childhood to understand her racial identity.
“I call myself a Black woman. That’s how I identify,” said Kryst, who finished in the top 10 of the Miss Universe 2019 competition. “When I was younger, there were no identity boxes for mixed-race people.”
“Cheslie wasn’t just my daughter; she was my best friend,” Kryst’s mom, April Simpkins, told Gayle King on Monday, New York Post reports.
“Months earlier, Cheslie had told me the exact same thing: Her mother was her best friend,” King wrote in an essay published Tuesday for Oprah Daily.
“Not only is her family shattered, but everybody who knew or worked with Cheslie is walking around in shock,” King wrote.
If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, please dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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