Kyle Jean-Baptiste, History-Making 'Les Miserables' Actor, Dies at 21

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The Broadway newcomer died after falling from his mother's fire escape.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, an actor who recently made his Broadway debut in the current revival of Les Miserables, died Friday evening after falling from a fire escape at his mother's home in Brooklyn. He was 21.

Broadway World confirmed the news of his death in a statement from the company: "The entire Les Miserables family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle, a remarkable young talent and tremendous person who made magic — and history — in his Broadway debut. We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time."

Jean-Baptiste made history when he went on for the first time last month as understudy in the lead role of Jean Valjean, becoming the youngest actor to appear on Broadway in the part and also the first African-American.

"Thursday is my last Valjean on Broadway. The ability to play this part on Broadway has been life changing," he tweeted Aug. 25. He was scheduled to leave Les Miserables on Sept. 6 to join the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of The Color Purple.

Kristin Chenoweth tweeted, "RIP Kyle Jean-Baptiste. My love and hugs to his family. And the cast of @LesMiserables." Josh Groban also shared his condolences on social media: "He was just getting started. So sad. My condolences as well to family and cast."

Jean-Baptiste was a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace; prior to Broadway he had appeared in a number of regional theater productions, including Les Miserables, Murder Ballad, Singin' in the Rain and The Music Man.

The marquee lights on Broadway's Imperial Theatre, where Les Miserables is playing, will be dimmed in Jean-Baptiste's memory on Tuesday Sept. 1 at approximately 10:15 pm ET, following the show's evening performance.

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