The Tragic Death Of Former Miss America Leanza Cornett

Former Miss America Leanza Cornett died at age 49 after being hospitalized for a head injury (via News 4 Jax). According to Leanza Cornett's Circle of Love, a Facebook group that updated friends, family, and fans about Cornett's condition, the former pageant star sustained a head injury on Oct. 12, 2020 that required "emergency surgery" and left her in the ICU.

In later posts, the Facebook page revealed Cornett "sustained an enormous blow to the back of her head" after a fall in the kitchen, leading her to undergo surgery to "stop the bleeding in her brain." They shared several updates on her condition until they announced her death on Oct. 28, 2020. "I'm here to let you know Leanza passed this afternoon," the post read, adding, "She was so loved."

Following the news of her passing, the Miss America Organization issued a statement, reading, "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." They continued, writing, "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."

Scroll below for more details about Cornett's great life before her untimely death.

Leanza Cornett lived an extraordinary life

Known for her love of all things Disney, Leanza Cornett had a fairytale-like life. Before she was became Miss America, she was the first to play the role of Ariel in the live-action production of The Little Mermaid in 1991 at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World (via News 4 Jax). The following year, she was crowned Miss Florida and then Miss America in 1993 (via People).

After winning one of the biggest titles in pageantry, Cornett went on to appear in several television shows including Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Grown Ups, The Tick, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Weeds.

As for her personal life, Cornett married former Home and Family host Mark Steines in 1995, per People. Together they welcomed two children — Avery and Kai — before they divorced in 2013. Steines confirmed the unfortunate news in a touching Instagram post, writing, "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." He added, "I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life's path."