Leanza Cornett, the American TV personality and former Miss America winner, has died at the age of 49 after suffering a head injury earlier this month.
The Miss America Organization and her former husband Mark Steines both confirmed the death in separate social media posts. Reports said she suffered the head injury on October 12 and had been in hospital in Jacksonville since.
Cornett won the Miss America pageant in 1993 after winning the Florida title the year before. She was the first beauty queen in the role to adopt AIDS awareness and prevention as her platform for her year of service.
Her varied acting roles included hosting television shows such as Entertainment Tonight and Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, while she appeared in episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Weeds. She also served as a reporter for Animal Planet’s coverage of the Eukanuba AKC National Dog Show programs and hosted On The Block on DIY Network.
On stage, her credits included Barefoot In The Park, Godspell, and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, while she also had been the first actress to play a live-action version of Ariel, the title character from The Little Mermaid, at Walt Disney World Resort in 1991.
Cornett and Steines were divorced in 2013 after 17 years of marriage, they had two sons, Kai Harper and Avery James.
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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. 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. I ask that you please keep them as well as Leanza’s parents and her family in your prayers.