Kyle Jean-Baptiste, an up-and-coming Broadway actor known for his work on the Broadway production of Les Miserables, has died after an accidental fall from his mother’s fire escape. He was 21.
Jean-Baptiste made Broadway history when he was cast for the understudy role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Earning the role made him both the youngest actor to ever do so and also the first Black actor to play Valjean on Broadway. In addition to Valjean’s character, Jean-Baptiste also took on the roles of Constable and Courfeyrac in the production.
The company of Les Miserables released the following statement in the wake of Jean-Baptiste’s death:
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.
A number of celebrities and colleagues took to Twitter to express their condolences to Jean-Baptiste’s family, friends, and cast mates.