Leanza Cornett, Former Miss America and 'Entertainment Tonight' Contributor, Dies at 49

Leanza Cornett
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Her ex-husband, Mark Steines, posted the news on Instagram.

Leanza Cornett, a former Miss America who went on to contribute to Entertainment Tonight and appear as a reporter in several TV shows, has died. She was 49.

Her ex-husband, Mark Steines, posted the news on Instagram.

"It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of my ex-wife," he wrote. "Leanza the mother to our two extraordinary sons Kai and Avery. We will always remember the wonderful times shared during her short time here on earth. I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life's path. I ask that you please keep them as well as Leanza's parents and her family in your prayers."

The Miss America Organization also posted on Facebook.

"Leanza had a bright and beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious," the post read. "We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you. 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."

No cause of death was given, but a Facebook group named Leanza's Circle of Love — which had been keeping fans updated on her condition — posted two weeks ago that Cornett had "sustained a serious head injury that required emergency surgery" on Oct. 12 and subsequently was admitted to the ICU.

Cornett — who was born June 10, 1971, in Virginia but was raised in Florida — was named Miss Florida in 1992 and went on to be crowned Miss America the following year.

Before that, she was a member of the contemporary Christian music group Area Code and played Ariel in Voyage of the Little Mermaid at the show's debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios) at Walt Disney World Resort.

After winning Miss America, she went on to appear on Entertainment Tonight as well as co-host Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?

She also played a reporter in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Tick and Weeds and had guest roles on Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Grown Ups and more.

She married former Entertainment Tonight co-host Steines in 1995. Their sons are now 18 (Kai) and 16 (Avery). They divorced in 2013.