On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Miss America Organization confirmed the tragic news that former Miss America Leanza Cornett had passed away. She was 49 years old.
“Leanza had a bright and beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious. We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you,” the organization’s Facebook statement read. “We are devastated by this sudden loss in our Miss America family and we are deeply sorry for her family and close friends for their loss.”
The organization added, “At the moment, we do not have any further information regarding a service for Leanza and we ask that you please respect her family during this difficult time.”
An individual who organized a Facebook page called “Leanza’s Circle of Love” also shared the heartbreaking news, writing, “I’m here to let you know Leanza passed this afternoon. She was so loved. I don’t feel like writing a lot right now; my heart is broken. Sue.”
NBC News affiliate News 4 Jax in Jacksonville, Fla. reported that the pageant queen, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, died after being hospitalized for a head injury.