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Broadway has lost one of its brightest new stars just months after he debuted with his role in Les Miserable.
Kyle Jean Baptiste, who made history in the role of Jean Valjean, has passed away. Broadway.com reports that he died after falling from a fire escape.
At just 21 years old, Kyle set two monumental achievements with the casting as he became the youngest actor–and the first Black actor–to ever play Jean Valjean professionally. Although he was an understudy, his presence on stage was undeniable.
Learning of Kyle’s death came as huge to the people he worked with, particularly because he had just performed in Les Miserable on August 27. A rep for the production, said in a statement:
“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.”
His family said that Kyle will be deeply missed in a statement, reading:
“Yesterday, a young man who was kind, thoughtful, respectful, confident and vulnerable, left our world. He was a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, and a friend. With a smile ‘yay wide,’ a heart worn on his sleeve, and a song always on his lips, he walked with us for 21 years. To say he will be missed would be an understatement. Our pain has no boundaries. Kyle Xavier Seth Jean-Baptiste has left an indelible mark on all of our lives. His talent was boundless and his light was so bright. We are grateful for each and every day we got to spend with him. His energy will live on in each of us. We extend our gratitude to our extended family, Victoria Bussert, Scott Plate, Ben Sands, Cameron Mackintosh and friends—old & new. Services will be private.”