Former Miss Universe Chelsi Smith, who won the crown representing America as Miss USA, has died, TMZ reports.
Smith was the first woman of African-American descent to win the Miss Texas USA competition. She then went on to earn the title of Miss USA 1995, and eventually headed to Namibia, where she was crowned Miss Universe 1995, making her the first American woman to wear that crown in 15 years.
Her friend and Miss New York USA 1995, Shanna Moakler, took to Instagram to write a touching tribute to her friend.
Alluding to Smith’s reported battle with liver cancer, Moakler wrote, “If it wasn’t for her, her beauty and her energy, her incredible destiny, I wouldn’t even be where I am today. Even when she was sick she was positive and radiant and never stopped laughing.”
The beauty queen celebrated her friend, writing, “Visit me in my dreams queen I will be missing you and all your witty banter. Love love love you. Godspeed.”
Friends, fans, and other beauty queens celebrated Smith’s life with posts on social media.
May love and light go with you on your next journey @Chelsi_Smith . You took the world by storm as Miss Universe 1995 & you continued to open your heart to so many. R.I.P. my beautiful friend. You will truly be missed!😔 #MissUniverse #MissUSA #misstexasusa pic.twitter.com/QDxOnDZYs4
— Sharron Melton (@sharronmelton01) September 8, 2018
Heartbreaking to learn former Miss Texas USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe 1995, Chelsi Smith has passed away. She inspired my journey to #MissUSA and was a wonderful woman and friend. #MissTXUSA #MissUSA pic.twitter.com/jewIFrcdK8
— Lina de Florias (@linadeflorias) September 8, 2018
The Miss Universe community sends sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Chelsi Smith, Miss USA & Miss Universe 1995. pic.twitter.com/zYfPwXVeY2
— Miss USA & Miss Teen USA (@MissUSA) September 9, 2018
Fans flocked to Smith’s Instagram page and shared thoughts on her last post, which was in April of this year.
“I know Heaven is a beautiful place because they’ve got you,” one fan wrote.
The model also starred in commercials for Hawaiian Tropic, Jantzen, Pontiac, and Venus Swimwear, according to her agency. Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to the agency to confirm details and will update when we hear back.
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