Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst‘s mother, April Simpkins spoke out after a medical examiner confirmed Cheslie’s death was a suicide.
Chelsie, 30, jumped from the 29th floor terrace of her apartment building near Times Square in Manhattan on Jan. 30.
RELATED: RIP: Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst dies by suicide at age 30
Her mother, April Simpkins, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE:
“I have never known a pain as deep as this. I am forever changed. Today, what our family and friends privately knew was the cause of death of my sweet baby girl, Cheslie, was officially confirmed.”
Simpkins’ history as a beauty pageant winner had a profound impact on Cheslie, who followed in her mother’s footsteps.
“I remember watching her win and going to appearances with her during her reign,” Cheslie, who was also an attorney, wrote in a 2019 blog post for the North Carolina Bar Association.
Simpkins, who was named Mrs. North Carolina in 2002, told PEOPLE: “While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death.”
“We miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, her sense of humor and mostly her hugs. We miss all of it — we miss all of her. She was a vital part of our family which makes this loss even more devastating,” Simpkins continued.
In lieu of flowers, Simpkins asks that donations be made to Dress for Success, “an organization that was dear” to her daughter’s heart.
“If you or anyone else is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255,” Simpkins added. “Thank you all for continuing to respect the privacy of our family while we grieve.”