Leanza Cornett, former Miss America, dies at 49

Leanza Cornett, former Miss America, dies at 49

Leanza Cornett, a former Miss America, died Wednesday from a brain injury, the Miss America Organization said. She was 49.

The Miss America Organization shared the news of her passing on Wednesday.

“Leanza had a bright and beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious. We know she meant so much to so many,” the group said in a Facebook post. “We are devastated by this sudden loss in our Miss America family and we are deeply sorry for her family and close friends for their loss.”

A spokesperson for the Miss America Organization confirmed in an email to NBC News that Cornett died from complications related to a brain injury sustained during a “slip and fall at home.”

After winning Miss America in 1993, Cornett advocated for AIDS awareness as her yearlong platform. Cornett later guest starred in several television series, including “Saved by the Bell: New Class,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and “Weeds,” according to her IMDb page.

Cornett’s ex-husband and former “Home and Family” host Mark Steines expressed sadness over the loss.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of my ex-wife, Leanza the mother to our two extraordinary sons Kai and Avery,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “We will always remember the wonderful times shared during her short time here on earth.”

“I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life’s path,” he said.

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