A Facebook page titled “Leanza Cornett’s Circle of Love” shared on Oct. 18 that she suffered “a huge blow to the back of her head” and had surgery to stop the bleeding in her brain.
Cornett won the Miss Florida beauty pageant in 1992 and a year later was crowned Miss America at the 66th annual ceremony. She was the first Miss Florida to win the national pageant. As Miss America, she spoke about AIDS awareness and prevention using her platform, the first winner to do so.
From 1994 to 1995, Cornett was a TV host for Entertainment Tonight, where she worked alongside Mark Steines before their 17-year marriage. She also hosted “New Altitudes” and “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? And appeared on shows like “Melrose Place”, “The Tick” and “Fear Factor”.
“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,” the Miss America organization wrote. “At this time, we have no further information regarding a service for Leanza and we ask that you please respect her family during this difficult time. Hold on to the ones you love today. Time is certainly precious.