CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friends, family and the community will have a chance to honor the life of Miss USA winner and Charlotte native Cheslie Kryst next week, Kryst's family announced.
The family will host a public celebration of life on Friday, Feb. 18, at Elevation Church off Rea Road in Blakeney. The event will be streamed for those who are unable to attend. The public service is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The family will observe a private, invitation-only celebration prior to the public event.
Kryst died by suicide on Jan. 30 in New York City. She was beloved in the Charlotte community after becoming Miss North Carolina and working closely with the Charlotte-based charity Dress for Success.
"Cheslie was one of the most effervescent people I ever met… she was always positive, she was always ready to take on the next task," Kerry Barr O'Connor, the executive director of Dress for Success, said.
Kryst was an attorney who fought for social justice and was also a host on the syndicated entertainment news show "Extra."
April Simpkins, Kryst's mother, said she hid her depression from everyone until shortly before her death.
Kryst was a client and friend to LaToya Evans, a spokesperson for Kryst's family. Evans told WCNC Charlotte they had spoken just days before Kryst's death and said she's committed to continuing Kryst's legacy.
"There were no signs," Evans said. "That's because Cheslie -- as bright and intelligent and as beautiful as she was -- she never wanted to burden anyone. Her gift was her light, and in that, she didn't share the true story of her depression until unfortunately very shortly before her death."
If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.