Cheslie Kryst’s Grandfather Speaks Out About ‘Devastating’ Loss
Cheslie Kryst passed away on Sunday, and now her grandfather Gary Simpkins is remembering the “Extra” correspondent in a touching interview.
Simpkins spoke to The New York Daily News about the “devastating” loss of his “fantastic, kind, and generous” granddaughter.
Recalling her empathy for others, he said, “She felt for other people. She tried to help other people. She was just one of those rare people that had a heart for people.”
Simpkins continued, “She had a laugh that was infectious. I can still hear it echoing in my mind. And I don't know. But I do know that we'll get through this. We will, but right now this is just devastating.”
Cheslie was just 30 years old. Simpkins said, “To be extinguished so fast is just devastating. So hard to imagine one minute they're here and one minute they're not. And you know that the only [way] you'll ever see them again is when you yourself pass away.”
Kryst was one of six children, and her family had previously released a statement saying, "In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie. Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined. Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on 'Extra.' But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague — we know her impact will live on."
The family also said, "As we reflect on our loss, the family asks for privacy at this time."
Authorities believe Cheslie took her own life, jumping from her New York City apartment building Sunday morning. Her final Instagram post was a beautiful picture with the haunting message, "May this day bring you rest and peace."
Born in Jackson, Michigan, she graduated from the Honors College and the University of South Carolina. She went on to graduate from the Darla Moore School of Business and Wake Forest University School of Law.
Cheslie was a former Miss North Carolina and was Miss USA 2019, the first year when the four major U.S. pageant titles were held by Black women.
Prior to joining "Extra" in 2019, Cheslie worked as an attorney and founded the fashion blog White Collar Glam.
If you are struggling and need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.