Chelsi Smith, the trailblazing pageant winner and first ever black Miss Texas winner died on Saturday. She was 45.

“Chelsi was our loving daughter, niece, and friend. We will miss her infectious laughter, joie de vivre, and free spirit,” a family statement read. “She always appreciated the expressions of love and good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.”

Smith became the first ever black Miss Texas when she won the crown in 1995. She went on to win the Miss USA pageant and later the Miss Universe crown in 1995, becoming one of the only black women to ever win the pageant world’s triple crown. Smith also won Miss Galveston County in 1994.

A Kingwood and Deer Park native, Smith died from a protracted illness

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