Chesley’s grieving grandfather Crist struggled on Monday to find out why the former Miss USA was killed, “a light too bright.”
Gary Simpkins told The New York Daily News by phone from South Carolina. “It’s very 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 die.”
“She was an amazing person,” he added.
“She was kind. She was generous. She felt for others. She tried to help others. She was just one of those rare people who has a heart for people.”
Crist, 30, gained international fame when she was crowned Miss USA in 2019 and made history as one of three black women to claim the titles of Miss USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe in the same year. Krist is also best known for her work as a New York correspondent for the entertainment news program ‘Extra’.
Citing police sources, the Associated Press reported that Crist apparently committed suicide in New York City.
“It is in devastation and great sadness that we share in the passing of our beloved Chesley,” Crist’s family said in a statement. “Her wonderful light has been an inspiration to others around the world with her beauty and strength.
“She cared, she loved, she laughed and she sparkled. Chisley personified love and served others, both through her work as a lawyer fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as host on EXTRA. But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague – We know its impact will continue.”
Krist was also the global impact ambassador for the feminist organization Dress for Success and served on the national board of directors for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In addition to hosting and humanitarian duties, Krist has founded the fashion blog “White Collar Glam,” which highlights women’s brand clothing.
Police said Crist jumped from a Manhattan apartment building and was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday morning. Her family confirmed her death in a statement.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for those in distress: 1-800-273-8255.