Culture October 29, 2020

Former Miss America winner Leanza Cornett dies at 49

WATCH: NOTIFIED: Dec. 3, 2020

Leanza Cornett, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, has died at the age of 49.

The Miss America Organization confirmed the beauty queen's passing on Wednesday, writing, "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."

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The industry has been "devastated by this sudden loss," and "are deeply sorry for her family and close friends for their loss."

The organization declined to reveal her cause of death, writing, "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."

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Cornett's ex-husband Mark Steines, who shared sons Kai, 18, and Avery, 16, with her, took to Instagram to honor his late wife, vowing, "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."

Cornett went on to play the first live-action Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" stage production at Walt Disney World, and had cameos in shows such as "Weeds" and "Saved by the Bell: The New Class."