Miss Alabama 2021 winner Zoe Sozo Bethel has died, her family said, days after she sustained severe brain damage in an accident.
The beauty pageant contestant and conservative commentator died on Friday after suffering from the undisclosed accident on 10 February. Her death was confirmed in an Instagram post made by her family on Sunday.
They wrote: “On Friday, 18 February, 2022, at approximately 5.30am Eastern time in Miami, Florida, our beloved Zoe Sozo Bethel passed from this life into the next as a result of succumbing to her injuries.”
They continued: “Zoe touched the hearts of many people and was actively affiliated with several organisations and groups namely, she was the current Miss Alabama (for America Strong), a political commentator for RSBN, a Brand Ambassador for Turning Point USA, and Liberty University’s Falkirk Center. She was also a spokeswoman for Students for Life and affiliated with Project Veritas.
“At this time of bereavement, effectual and fervent prayers are solicited for the family members, and the family asks that their privacy wishes be honoured and respected.”
The family said any additional information about “burial arrangements and other matters” will be provided at a later date.
Bethel’s family had confirmed the accident in an earlier Instagram post on 17 February. They said: “Zoe had an accident Thursday night, February 10th, and sustained severe damage to her brain/brainstem and is in a coma.”
“Unfortunately the doctors are saying the damage cannot be repaired and that she may not have much time left,” the post said.
“This has been an abrupt and very traumatising situation for our family, and we can imagine how much of a shock this will also be to everyone who knows and cares for her,” it added.
A GoFundMe page had also been created to cover medical and other expenses for Bethel. More than $43,000 had been raised.
On social media, her followers expressed shock and grief over her death. Former NFL athlete Jack Brewer wrote: “God be with you Queen Zoe. Rest in Power, you have entered eternity and we will meet again! Well done women of God! May your family find peace in your amazing walk on earth.”
Turning Point USA, Bethel’s former employer, also posted a tribute on their YouTube page.
“We are so honoured to have known Zoe Sozo Bethel. She has been a pillar in the Conservative movement, always moving with grace, elegance, and wisdom. She has inspired many, and her legacy will continue to touch the hearts and minds of people everywhere,” it said.