Former Miss USA And Miss Universe Chelsi Smith Dies At 45

Sep. 10 2018, Updated 1:24 p.m. ET

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Chelsi Smith, who won both Miss USA and Miss Universe in 1995, has died of cancer. She was 45 years old.

Smith was a trailblazer as the first bi-racial winner of the Miss USA pageant.

Her longtime friend Daniel Lara told RadarOnline, "She had the biggest heart, was so genuine and truly wanted happiness for us all. She’s already missed."

Smith, who was divorced from fitness coach Kelly Blair after her reign as Miss Universe, was thrilled to win Miss USA, noting afterwards that she experienced, "A swirl of emotions! I had worked so hard and wanted it so bad…the time had finally come and all of the hard work had paid off! I was excited, relieved, exhausted, fired-up all at the same time! Being named Miss Congeniality was also a huge part of my wonderful experience! It was a true tribute to the friendships and bonds that were created while I was there!"

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Smith recalled becoming Miss Universe after that "was really unexpected."

She became an actress and appeared on the sitcom Martin, Due South, and the TLC documentary, The History of the Bathing Suit.

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