Actress and one-time Miss America Leanza Cornett is dead at the age of 49, according to multiple reports this week.
The Miss America Organization expressed grief over the “sudden loss,” which came days after prior reports that Cornett was hospitalized for treatment of a serious head injury sustained in a fall, as reported by Fox News.
“Bright and beautiful spirit”
Cornett, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, was remembered for her “bright and beautiful spirit” by the organization in a statement posted Wednesday on Facebook.
“It is with great sadness the Miss America Organization relays the news of our beloved Miss America and friend, Leanza Cornett, has passed away,” the statement began.
Her “laugh was infectious,” the organization wrote to its Facebook fans, and “she meant so much to so many, including all of you.”
A Facebook page previously chronicling Cornett’s hospitalization and treatment following a fall on Oct. 12 also confirmed her death this week.
Ex-husband Mark Steines, known for his former hosting duties on Entertainment Tonight, expressed his dismay. The couple had two sons together, now 16 and 18 years old.
“Time is certainly precious”
“We will always remember the wonderful times shared during her short time here on earth,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life’s path. I ask that you please keep them as well as Leanza’s parents and her family in your prayers.”
As Variety noted, the Miss America Organization’s statement noted that, at that time, it did “not have any further information regarding a service for Leanza” and asked the public to “respect her family during this difficult time.”
Her untimely and tragic death offers a tough lesson to everyone mourning the loss.
“Hold on tight to those you love today,” the Miss America Organization concluded. “Time is certainly precious.”
In a follow-up statement thanking followers for their continued support, the Facebook page “Leanza Cornett’s Circle of Love” expressed a similar sentiment: “Life is so fragile, isn’t it? We have right now, and that’s all we have for certain.￼ Leanza has passed, yet we need to continue to build each other up, pray for each other and send words of encouragement and accolades every single day.”