Cheslie Kryst’s Mom Breaks the Silence after Daughter’s Death: “I Never had a pain like this”
The former Miss America’s death was determined to be suicide according to The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to PEOPLE.COM on Tuesday. She was just 30 years old.
“I have never felt an emotional pain as intense as this. I am forever changed. Today, what my family and friends had been able to confirm was the reason for the death of my precious little girl Cheslie is now officially proven,” her mother, April Simpkins, said in an interview with PEOPLE.
“While it’s hard to accept, the truth is the truth. Cheslie lived the public and private ones. She was a private person who struggled with high-functioning depression, which she concealed from the world including me, who was her close friend — until just before her death.” Simpkins continued.
While Kryst’s “life on earth was brief but it was full of numerous beautiful images,” her mother wrote.
“We miss her laughter and wisdom words as well as their sense of humor, and the most important thing, her hugs. We will miss everything -We miss everything about her. She was an essential member of our family, which makes this loss more painful,” Simpkins added.
“Cheslie – to the world you were a ray of joy with smiles. We chatted, FaceTimed, or text each other throughout the day, all day. Your friendship was more than just a daughter – you were my most trusted friend. Conversation with you was among the most enjoyable parts of my life. Your smile and laughter were unstoppable,” she continued. “I cherish you my little girl from the bottom of my heart. I miss you desperately. I’m sure one day we’ll be back together. In the meantime, rest peacefully and be at peace.”
In place of flowers, Simpkins requests that any donations be donated towards dress for Success, “an organization which was very close” to her daughter’s heart.
“If you or someone who is suffering from the thought of taking a life, you should call to the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255,” she added. “Thank you for all your efforts to protect our privacy as a family during our time of grief.”
Simpkins’s own experience with beauty contests has had a profound effect in Kryst as a young child.
Related: Celebrity Death 2022
The year 2002 was the time Simpkins became Mrs. North Carolina — becoming the first Black woman to be awarded the title according to The Charlotte Observer.
“I was a child watching her victory and attending events together during her tenure,” Kryst, who was also an attorney and social justice advocate said in a blog for the North Carolina Bar Association. “Her title gave her the opportunity to promote issues that mattered for her and her supporters took notice.”
The experience spurred Kryst to begin competing.
“It was a point in my life that I didn’t know who was or what I was confident about my own. I was the odd kid with an unibrow but had no acquaintances,” the actress said back in 2019 reports by the Associated Press. “I thought I would like to be like her.”
After her passing on Sunday on Sunday, after her death, the Extra family of the correspondent remembers her as an inspiration to others “around the world ” with her strength and beauty,” they wrote in a declaration.
“Cheslie loved to serve and was an inspiration to people in many ways, whether it was through the work she did as an attorney fighting for justice for all and equality, or in her role as Miss USA and as a host on Extra. However, most importantly, she was an aunt, sister as well as a mentor, friend and coworker — we know her influence will continue to be felt,” they added.