Former Miss America Leanza Cornett has died after sustaining a head injury at her home earlier this month. She was 49.
Cornett reportedly suffered a fall in her kitchen on October 12 while at her home in Jacksonville, Florida. She was admitted to the hospital after sustaining a blow to the back of her head.
A Facebook page was set up by family and friends to keep fans up to date with her health and progress. However, last night, the page’s administrator, Sue Roberts, announced that her friend had passed away.
“Dear Disney family, I’m here to let you know Leanza passed this afternoon,” wrote Roberts, before adding, “She was so loved. I don’t feel like writing a lot right now; my heart is broken.”
A short time later, the news was confirmed by the Miss America Organization, who posted a touching tribute to their Instagram page.
They stated that they were devastated by the sudden loss of a Miss America family member and stressed that they were deeply sorry for Cornett’s family and friends.
Miss America Organization paid tribute to Leanza Cornett
The organization also stated that “Leanza had a bright, beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious. We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you.”
Tributes pour in for Leanza Cornett
Tributes from the former winners of Miss America came flooding in for Leanza Cornett.
Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund wrote: “An absolutely tragic loss for us all, and her dear family. She was a trailblazer, with the most generous and compassionate heart, and inspiration to so many, including me.” She also added, “Rest in eternal peace, beautiful Leanza, you are so loved.”
Kira Dixon, winner of the 2015 competition, wrote: “So much love to my sister, ??❤️” And the winner of 2018, Nia Franklin said she was sending prayers to the family.
Broadcaster and winner of Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson wrote about the two sons that Cornett has left behind: “My heart aches for her two sons Kai and Avery. My God bless them and hold them in his arms forever.”
The current holder of the title, Camille Schrier, Miss Virginia, simply sent a hands clasped in prayer emoji.
Cornett was born in Virginia but raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She was the first Floridian to win the Miss America pageant. She was known for her work for Aids-related charities and for her refusal to wear the Miss America crown at public events.
She went on to work in television on shows such as CBS’s Entertainment Tonight and on Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?
The celebrity world is still reeling from yesterday’s death of Outlaw country singer Billie Joe Shaver who passed away at 81 after suffering a stroke.