Mother of Cheslie Kryst Speaks Out About Her Daughter’s Tragic Suicide

Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images

After the unexpected tragedy surrounding the death of Cheslie Kryst — 2019’s Miss USA — her mother is speaking out. Kryst was just 30-years-old and died in an apparent suicide, reports People via the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

“I have never known a pain as deep as this. I am forever changed,” says April Simpkins, Kryst’s mother, in a statement provided to People. “Today, what our family and friends privately knew was the cause of death of my sweet baby girl, Cheslie, was officially confirmed.”

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Cheslie Kryst and Her Private Struggle With Depression

In addition to Miss USA, Kryst was a gifted attorney and passionate social justice advocate. The latter of which being a defining reason why she stepped into pageantry.

Simpkins, herself, competed in beauty pageantry and inspired Kryst at an early age. In a 2019 blog post written for the North Carolina Bar Association, Kryst touched on this. “I remember watching her win and going to appearances with her during her reign,” Kryst wrote. “Her title provided her with a platform to advocate for issues that were important to her and people listened.”

According to Simpkins’ statement, Kryst struggled privately with high-functioning depression. Her mother states that she hid this part of her private life from everyone, even her best friend, her mom.

“We miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, her sense of humor, and mostly her hugs,” Simpkins writes. “We miss all of it — we miss all of her. She was a vital part of our family which makes this loss even more devastating.”

You Never Know What Someone Is Going Through

Cheslie Kryst and Zozibini Tunzi

Photo by Bruce Glikas/WireImage via Gettys

“Cheslie — to the world, you were a ball of sunshine wrapped in smiles. We talked, FaceTimed or texted one another all day, every day. You were more than a daughter — you were my very best friend,” Simpkins statement reads. “Talking with you was one of the best parts of my day. Your smile and laugh were infectious.”

Miss USA from 2006, Tara Conner, posted a video conversation she had with Kryst to Instagram. “You never know what someone is going through,” Conner writes. “Your presence in this world touched so many lives, including mine!” She goes on to write how “too many people suffer in silence” and urges anyone struggling that they speak up.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

In lieu of flowers, Simpkins asks that any donations be made to Dress for Success, “an organization that was dear” to her daughter’s heart.