Family of Cheslie Kryst, holds vigil for her 31st birthday

Fans and supporters are encouraged to "come and celebrate” her birthday with a balloon release

The family of Cheslie Kryst, the beloved beauty queen who died by suicide earlier this year, announced a public vigil is being held Thursday to mark her 31st birthday. 

As reported by Good Morning America, the event will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. ET at Fort Mill High School’s football stadium in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The parents of the former Miss USA are asking fans and supporters to “come and celebrate with us” at the vigil and balloon release.

Cheslie Kryst
Cheslie Kryst was an ‘Extra’ correspondent and former Miss USA (Credit: Getty Images)

“On April 28, Cheslie would have turned 31 years old,” Kryst’s parents, April and David Simpkins said. “As that date approaches, we are already experiencing a remarkable outpouring of love and support for our Cheslie, for which we are tremendously grateful.”

“Many have asked how best to honor Cheslie’s memory on her birthday,” they continued. “This is an individual decision, and we would not presume to decide how any fan, friend, or former colleague should remember Cheslie or memorialize her on her upcoming birthday.”

Kryst died by suicide on Jan. 30, according to the New York Post. She was reportedly alone in her ninth-floor unit in the 60-story Orion building at approximately 7:15 a.m. when she leaped to her death, as the theGrio reported.

Since her tragic death, several fraudulent groups and individuals have attempted to profit from Kryst’s death. The family has made clear that they have approved only four organizations to receive charitable donations in Kryst’s honor.

Per PEOPLE, those are Dress For Success – The Cheslie Kryst Women’s Advancement Fund; Wake Forest University School of Law – The Cheslie C. Kryst Social Justice Scholarship; University of South Carolina – The Cheslie C. Kryst Scholarship Fund; and The Dean’s List – The Cheslie C. Kryst Woman In Media Award.

“Seeking to profit improperly from our daughter’s memory is not only not authorized and thus unlawful, but it could also undermine her estate’s current and future charitable goals, initiatives, and activities,” the Simpkins’ explained.

The former pageant queen, who also reported news for ExtraTV,  worked as a litigation attorney doing pro bono work to help free prisoners who have been wrongly accused of crimes, per theGrio. She also ran a fashion blog called White Collar Glam in her spare time. The Charlotte, North Carolina native held a law degree and an MBA from Wake Forest. 

“Cheslie led both a public and a private life,” Kryst’s mom said in a statement after her death. “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.” 

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