Former Miss Universe Chelsi Smith passed away last weekend after suffering from liver cancer. The tragic news was initially reported over the weekend, but her family just confirmed her passing. The 45-year-old beauty queen had been suffering from the disease for just over a year.
Smith was a Texas native, and she captured the title of Miss Texas in 1995. A few months later, she went on to win both Miss USA and Miss Universe.
With those wins, Smith because the only woman from Texas to win both of those titles. She was also the first American woman to win the Miss Universe title in 15 years.
Smith sadly passed away on Saturday. Her family released a statement to break the devastating news.
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Chelsi Smith has passed away following a protracted illness,” they said. “Chelsi was our loving daughter, niece, and friend. We will miss her infectious laughter, joie de vivre, and free spirit. She left an indelible mark on all those who knew her.”
The family continued, “While we mourn the loss of this vivacious and kind-hearted woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young women around the world that their dreams are possible through a loving heart and an enlightened mind.”
Smith was diagnosed with cancer in spring 2017. Since then, her health has declined drastically, according to her spokesman Jarrod Klawinsky.
“It just got worse throughout 2017,” he told The Houston Chronicle. “And this year she became extremely weak.”
Smith never publicly acknowledged her diagnosis or treatments. Her family explained why she made the decision to keep her cancer private even though she had a social media presence.
“As much as Chelsi cherished her privacy, she always appreciated the expressions of love and good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.”
In August, the former beauty queen went to live in Pennsylvania with her mother. Smith remained there until her passing on Saturday afternoon. A memorial service is currently being planned, and it is expected to occur in Houston within the next months.
While Smith held her title, she advocated for putting an end to racism using her biracial heritage (her mother was white and her father was African-American). It was very important to her that people know her heritage.
“If people are going to know me, I just think it’s important for them to know I’m half-black and half-white and that it hasn’t been a disadvantage,” she said.
After Smith ceased competing in pageants, she moved to Los Angeles and pursued a career in music. She also acted in film and television.
“After retiring her crown,” her family wrote, “she set the bar for intelligent and enlightened women around the world often advocating for causes close to her heart.”
Since her passing, friends and fans of the former Miss Universe winner have expressed an outpour of love and support on social media.
Please for her family as they mourn their loss. May God comfort and bless her family. In other news, Melania Trump is under fire for how she remembered 9/11.