October 3, 2023

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Former Miss America Leanza Cornett dies at age 49

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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.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Miss America Organization confirmed the tragic news that former Miss America Leanza Cornett had passed away. She was 49 years old.

“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,” the organization’s Facebook statement read. “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.”

The organization added, “At the moment, we do not have any further information regarding a service for Leanza and we ask that you please respect her family during this difficult time.”

An individual who organized a Facebook page called “Leanza’s Circle of Love” also shared the heartbreaking news, writing, “I’m here to let you know Leanza passed this afternoon. She was so loved. I don’t feel like writing a lot right now; my heart is broken. Sue.”

NBC News affiliate News 4 Jax in Jacksonville, Fla. reported that the pageant queen, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, died after being hospitalized for a head injury.

While details of her passing are still unknown, Leanza’s Circle of Love Facebook page claimed she sustained a head injury on Oct. 12. A post shared on Oct. 18 explained details surrounding the former beauty queen’s condition.

“She sustained an enormous blow to the back of her head. The surgery she had on Tuesday was to stop the bleeding in her brain. Right now there is some continued bleeding and swelling,” a message read at the time. “Brain injuries are not black and white. We have to just take this day by day. She has an incredible medical team taking care of her.”

It’s unclear how Leanza sustained the head injury.

Upon hearing the news, Leanza’s ex-husband and veteran television personality Mark Steines, expressed his heartache on Instagram.

“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,” he captioned his post. “I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life’s path.”

Mark concluded, “I ask that you please keep them as well as Leanza’s parents and her family in your prayers.”