Samantha Edwards, former Miss Dakota USA, was found dead on Tuesday morning, according to Minnesota officials. She was 37.
“We are saddened by the sudden loss of Samantha Edwards, Miss North Dakota USA 2003. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. She will forever be a part of this organization,” Miss USA said in a statement.
Edwards was found dead in her home in Minneapolis by a friend on Tuesday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a news release.
There was no obvious sign of trauma that led to her death. The cause of death is being investigated, officials said.
Edwards studied at the University of North Dakota and the Aveda Institute, a cosmetology school in Minneapolis, her Facebook page says.
A friend, Jessica Dereschuk—who won Miss Minnesota USA 2004— set up a GoFundMe page for Edwards. “Samantha Edwards, affectionately known by most as ‘Sami,’ was one of the most vibrant, crazy, compassionate, loyal balls of energy you could ever come across in life,” Dereschuk wrote.
“If you are moved to donate, thank you. But I know Sami — and the most important thing she would ask you to do…call someone you love right now & tell them,” she wrote. “I feel it is cliche to say life is short, but when tragedy happens, you understand that quote.”
In the GoFundMe, which generated nearly $20,000 as of Friday, Dereschuk added that Edwards would always “she would be there for” others.
“Yesterday, we were saddened to hear of the passing on one of the most vibrant, energetic, and full-loving title-holders we have had the honor to meet from our state pageants,” added the Miss USA & Miss Teen USA page Facebook. “Although Samantha was not a titleholder during our directorship, her impact on us and those around her was very apparent. Sam’s smile and her energy will be terribly missed.”