Pageant queen Chelsi Smith, who took the crowns of Miss USA and Miss Universe in 1995, has died after a battle with liver cancer.
Smith was the first biracial woman to win the Miss Texas USA competition. She then went on to earn the title of Miss USA 1995 and eventually she was crowned Miss Universe 1995 -- making her the first American woman to wear that crown in 15 years.
Smith was also Miss Galveston County in 1994. She grew up in Kingwood and Deer Park.
A memorial service will be held in Houston.
Chelsi Smith's family released this statement:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Chelsi Smith has passed away following a protracted illness.
Chelsi was our loving daughter, niece, and friend. We will miss her infectious laughter, joie de vivre, and free spirit. She left an indelible mark on all those who knew her.
As much as Chelsi cherished her privacy, she always appreciated the expressions of love and good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of this vivacious and kind-hearted woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young women around the world that their dreams are possible through a loving heart and an enlightened mind."