Cheslie Kryst’s sudden and tragic passing away has shocked the entire world but mostly the ones who were close to her. Former Miss USA’s parents have spoken up for the first time since their daughter’s passing away.
The police found Cheslie Kryst’s body at 7:15 am on Sunday on the ground outside the Orion condominium building. She was reportedly alone in her apartment when she decided to jump from an open terrace on the 29th floor that morning. A statement was released confirming the news of Cheslie’s passing away that read, “In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie. 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.”
Rodney Kryst who identifies himself as Cheslie’s father recently spoke to New York Post and shared that Cheslie Kryst was ‘pure’ with all her heart and actions. He said that she was not involved in any sort of drug or alcohol use and it was likely some kind of depression that lead the beauty queen to take her life. Cheslie’s father who spoke to the publication via phone call said, “I think it had a lot to do with family dysfunction, but it will be a while before we can talk more. She was sad.”
In a video Cheslie shared on father’s day, she said, “Today is a special day to show appreciation to all the fathers and father figures who have made our lives special. My dad introduced me to athletics. He took my siblings and me to the track every weekend when we were young when we didn't want to. And he told us endless stories of his bodybuilding days.” Cheslie’s grandfather Gary Simpkins also shared that he was stunned by the loss of such a fantastic, generous, and kind woman. He said, “So hard to imagine one minute they're here and one minute they're not. And you know that the only [way] you'll ever see them again is when you yourself pass away. She felt for other people. She tried to help other people. She was just one of those rare people that had a heart for people. She had a laugh that was infectious. I can still hear it echoing in my mind. And I don't know. But I do know that we'll get through this. We will, but right now this is just devastating.”
On the other hand, her mother April Simpkins spoke with Gayle King on Monday, the day after her daughter passed away, and said, “Cheslie wasn’t just my daughter; she was my best friend.” Gayle King in her essay wrote that months earlier Cheslie had mentioned that same thing to her; her mother was her best friend. Gayle in her essay said,” In fact, I woke up at 1:09 this morning—yes, exactly 1:09—and I could not fall back asleep, because I was so haunted by the endless list of unanswered questions: What was she thinking in those final moments? Did she plan it out? Did something so drastic and traumatic happen over the weekend that could have caused this? There are so many unanswered questions that it scares me.”
Cheslie’s friend and former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi shared on her social media, “Cheslie, my friend, I am devastated. I didn’t sleep a wink, caught in between not believing the news and trying to make sense of what is happening. You were supposed to send me photos of the outfit you were going to wear to a wedding this past Saturday and all the details that happened at the event. You took me by surprise, Queen. I am not ready for a world you don’t exist in.” She continued, “I hope you are resting easy now, love. You meant everything to so many people, and you forever will. You made a mark in this World and touched so many lives. We celebrate your life. I love you so, so much, my forever friend and forever Miss USA❤ RIP beautiful.”
Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers who crowned Cheslie Kryst the following year shared, "She was a bright light of wisdom, dedication, and strength. She truly was a star- a division 1 athlete turned attorney at just 26, before making history as the oldest woman to be crowned Miss USA at 28 and went on to place in the top 10 at Miss Universe. ... Cheslie was a role model for people all over the world, but especially young women of color. She spoke out about the beauty of her natural hair and became a part of history when the miss universe, miss USA, miss teen USA, and miss America were all women of color at the same time, for the first time. She continued to make history as the longest reigning Miss USA at 557 days & she used each one of those days to stand up for what she believed in. Not only did she share her crown with Lizzo (literally) but she sparkled and spread joy with all she interacted with."
Sarah also added, “Moments like these make us realize there's so much more than what meets the eye, whether that's what we see on social media or through a brief interaction with a friend. Don't be afraid to ask your friends and family the tough questions and be aware and on the lookout for warning signs of a mental health struggle, like changes in behavior or even verbal cues."
It was reported that she left a suicide note behind that read that all of her belongings should be given to her mother but there has been no mention about what might have led Cheslie to take this step.