Leanza Cornett, who won the title of Miss America in 1993, has died at the age of 49. On October 12, the beauty queen suffered a head injury, though there are no details on what exactly happened. She had been in the hospital since then, with a Facebook page dedicated to her recovery keeping fans updated. On Saturday, a post quoted Cornett's mother as having said "no news is good news," but on Wednesday night a new post shared the sad news. It read, "I'm here to let you know Leanza passed this afternoon. She was so loved. I don't feel like writing a lot right now; my heart is broken."
This Miss America Organization later paid tribute to Cornett on Facebook with a post that said, "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."
Two years before winning the country's biggest pageant, Cornett made history in another way - she became the first actress to portray a live-action version of "Ariel" from The Little Mermaid in Disney World's first live show featuring the character. From there she was crowned Miss Florida in 1992 before winning Miss America the next year. As her platform, she brought awareness to AIDS and how to prevent it.
Later in life, Leanza appeared on shows like CSI, Weeds and Saved by the Bell: The New Class, as well as on Entertainment Tonight.
She leaves behind two children, a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old.
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