Leanza Cornett, who in 1993 became Miss America before going on to a career in television, has died, the Miss America Organization confirmed. She was 49.
"It is with great sadness the Miss America Organization relays the news our beloved Miss America and friend, Leanza Cornett, has passed away," read a post on the official Miss America Facebook page.
"Leanza had a bright and beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious. We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you. 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."
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Born in Virginia and raised in Florida, Cornett would win the Miss Florida pageant in 1992, before going on to win the national title the following year.
According to posts from a Facebook group titled "Leanza Cornett's Circle of Love," Cornett starred as the original Ariel in Disney World's "Voyage of The Little Mermaid" show in the early '90s. She later appeared in episodes of the "Today" show, "Entertainment Tonight," "Rachael Ray," "CSI" and "Weeds," according to her IMDB page.
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.
A post shared by Mark Steines (@marksteines) on Oct 28, 2020 at 5:16pm PDT