Cornett’s death was confirmed by the Miss America organization in a statement.
“Leanza had a brilliant and beautiful mind and her laugh was infectious. We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you, ”the statement read. “We are devastated by this sudden loss in our Miss America family and we are deeply sorry to her family and close friends for their loss. “
Cornett, who was crowned Miss Florida in 1992, sang in Christian music group “Area Code” in the early 1990s, WJAX reported. She also played the role of Ariel in Walt Disney World MGM Studios’ “Voyage of the Little Mermaid Show” and made a career as a television broadcaster on the network.
At the time of her fall on Oct. 12, a family spokesperson told WJAX that the injury “required a decompressive craniectomy” in order to “treat the swelling in the brain and manage the bleeding.”
Her friend Elizabeth Tobin Kurtz told WJAX that Cornett used her platform in the 90s to become a champion of AIDS awareness. Kurtz said Cornett was often seen wearing a red ribbon, a common symbol of support for AIDS.
“If you look at some of her yellow pageant dresses, you’ll see that she’s wearing the red ribbon for awareness,” Kurtz said. “Leanza has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, reduce stigma and spread love. “