'A force to be reckoned with': Miss Universe New Zealand finalist Amber-Lee Friis dies at 23
Miss Universe New Zealand finalist Amber-Lee Friis has died.
Friis' talent agency, The Talent Tree, confirmed the tragic news Monday. She was 23.
"It is with immense sadness we acknowledge the sudden passing of a beautiful and talented Wahine Amber-lee Friis," Talent Tree wrote in a Facebook statement.
New Zealand Police told USA TODAY Friday that officers responded to a "sudden death" on May 18. No more details on her cause of death were available, but the police department said they have referred the death to a coroner.
Friis, an Auckland native, finished as a finalist during the 2018 Miss Universe New Zealand pageant, according to her Facebook page.
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Miss Universe New Zealand CEO Nigel Godfrey remembered Friis as a "force to be reckoned with."
"She was feisty, definitely took no prisoners, but she was a beautiful soul and you 100% knew what you were getting," Godfrey wrote in a Facebook tribute. "She was genuine, honest and she had an energy few others possess, her heart was most definitely in the right place. We liked and respected her and were very proud to call her a friend, long after the competition had finished."
Godfrey said "the world is a lesser place without her in it."
"She had a great deal more to give and it is a dreadful tragedy that she won't be here to (realize) her unlimited potential," he concluded. "RIP Amber Lee you have left us far, far too soon."