Leanza Cornett, TV host and Miss America winner, dies at 49

Sarah Carty
·Features & Style Editor
·2-min read

Leanza Cornett, TV host and former Miss America, has died at the age of 49.

The sad news was confirmed by her ex-husband, Mark Steines, who wrote 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.”

Leanza Cornett, TV host and former Miss America
Leanza Cornett, TV host and former Miss America, has died at the age of 49. Photo: Facebook/Miss America Organization

A Facebook page called Leanza Cornett’s Circle of Love claim she “sustained an enormous blow to the back of her head” and surgery couldn’t stop the bleeding on her brain.

Mark Steines continued in his Instagram tribute: “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.

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

Leanza Cornett attends the 2018 Miss America Competition Red Carpet at Boardwalk Hall Arena on September 10, 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The former beauty queen is reported to have 'sustained an enormous blow to the back of her head'. Photo: Getty Images

Leanza won the Miss Florida beauty pageant in 1992 and went on to scoop the top prize in Miss America in 1993.

Since then, she’s gone on to work for Entertainment Tonight as a host and has also been the

face of New Altitudes and Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?.

Leanza also appeared on Fear Factor and Melrose Place in the US.

The Miss America Organization also paid tribute to Leanza on Facebook, writing: “it is with great sadness the Miss America Organization relays the news our beloved Miss America and friend, Leanza Cornett, has passed away.

Miss South Carolina Kimberly Clarice Aiken (R) reacts after receiving the crown from last year's Miss America Leanza Cornett after Aiken won the Miss America Pageant 18 September 1993 in New Jersey. Aiken, 18, plans to help homeless people during her year-long reign.
She was crowned Miss America in 1993. Here she is crowning Miss South Carolina Kimberly Clarice Aiken. Photo: Getty Images

“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.

“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.

“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. Hold on tight to those you love today. Time is certainly precious.”

Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.

Or if you have a story idea, email us at lifestyle.tips@verizonmedia.com.