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1995 Miss Universe dies following long-term illness

September 10, 2018

FILE- In this Jan. 19, 1996, file photo, reigning Miss Universe 1995 Chelsi Smith, left, gives a congratulatory kiss to Adeline Ong Siew Fong, 23, after being crowned as Miss Malaysia/Universe in Kuala Lumpur. Local media cites a statement by the family of Smith that says the pageant winner died Saturday at 45-years-old following a long-term illness. (AP Photo/C.F. Tham, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — The winner of the 1995 Miss Universe crown has died following a long-term illness.

KTRK-TV cites a statement by the family of Chelsi Smith that says the pageant winner died Saturday at 45 years old. Jarrod Klawinsky, a spokesman for Smith, tells the Houston Chronicle Smith was diagnosed with liver cancer in spring 2017.

Smith started her beauty queen career in 1994 with the Miss Galveston County crown. She went on to earn the Miss Texas USA and Miss USA crown the following year. The family statement says Smith is the only biracial woman to ever win all three crowns. The Chronicle reports Smith was also the only Texan to become Miss Universe.

The family says a public memorial service is planned for October in Houston.

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