Former Miss USA and Miss Universe Chelsi Smith Dies at 45 After Battling Cancer
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Smith, the first biracial woman to win the Miss Texas USA competition, is mourned by her friends and fellow beauty queens following her passing.

AceShowbiz - Chelsi Smith, who won Miss USA 1995 and Miss Universe 1995, has passed away at age 45. She died on Saturday, September 8 reportedly after battling liver cancer. A statement released by her family on Sunday provided limited information, only saying that the "triple crown" pageant winner died following a protracted illness.

"Chelsi was our loving daughter, niece, and friend. We will miss her infectious laughter, joie de vivre, and free spirit," the statement read. "She always appreciated the expressions of love and good will from people around the world and from all walks of life."

Smith won the Miss Texas USA competition in 1995. She was the first woman of African-American descent to win the pageant. She went on to win Miss USA in the same year and was crowned Miss Universe 1995. She scored a major record deal in 1999. She was also an actress and television host.

Her family said in the statement, "After retiring her crown, she set the bar for intelligent and enlightened women around the world often advocating for causes close to her heart."

Her friend Shanna Moakler, who was runner-up to Smith in the 1995 Miss USA pageant, paid tribute to Smith on social media. She wrote on Twitter, "Tonight I will be playing poker for @CancerFreeGen in honor of my dear friend @Chelsi_Smith who I lost today to cancer. I am heartbroken. Godspeed beautiful. You were my friend and a light. I love and will miss you more then you will never know. The epitome of a Queen."

Moakler also posted on Instagram, "Having a hard time writing this. Found out the news of my good friend passing." Praising the late beauty queen as "funny, loving, smart," she remembered Smith as a person who was always "positive and radiant and never stopped laughing." She continued, "I will cherish my last conversations with you, I wish I was a better friend or could have done more... Visit me in my dreams queen I will be missing you and all your witty banter. Love love love you. Godspeed."

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Having a hard time writing this. Found out the news of my good friend passing. I really don't know how to express to the world what a funny, loving, smart! She was so fucking smart... to smart for her own good and talented young woman she was. Because her light was so big and so bright, she changed my life. If it wasn't for her, her beauty and her energy, her incredible destiny, I wouldn't even be where I am today. Even when she was sick she was positive and radiant and never stopped laughing. I was crying and she was cheering me up! Thats who she was. Chelsi, I will never forget our long nights talking, singing, fighitng, dreaming... pageantry will never be the same, the world and my heart will not be the same. I will cherish my last conversations with you, I wish I was a better friend or could have done more. I know you are meant for bigger things then this world offered you. Visit me in my dreams queen I will be missing you and all your witty banter. Love love love you. Godspeed.

Sebuah kiriman dibagikan oleh Shanna Moakler (@shannamoakler) pada

Miss USA also posted on its official Twitter page, "The Miss Universe community sends sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Chelsi Smith, Miss USA & Miss Universe 1995."

Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen tweeted, "I loved her smile & that generous spirit!!! Rest in peace my beautiful friend @Chelsi_Smith #MissUniverse1995 Dugga Dugga."

Miss Teen USA 2010 Kamie Crawford wrote on her own account, "Rest In Peace Miss Universe 1995, Chelsi Smith Such a sweet & bubbly soul. My heart goes out to her family and loves ones during this difficult time."

A memorial service for Smith will be planned to be held in Houston "in the following months."

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