Samantha Edwards, a former Miss North Dakota who had competed in the Miss USA pageant, was found dead in her apartment in Minnesota on Wednesday morning. She was 37.
The New York Daily News reports that while the sudden cause of death is under investigation, it appears that "there were no signs of trauma or that she died an unnatural death."
Edwards' friend Jessica Dereschuk, who competed and won as Miss Minnesota USA 2004, has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money for Edwards' family, funeral expenses and her dachshund Peanut with the blessing of Edwards' sister Gwen. Dereschuk writes, "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. A conversation with her could either leave you full of adrenaline or utterly exhausted."
After her win as Miss North Dakota 2003 and her competition in the Miss USA pageant, Edwards had moved to Minnesota and begun work as a freelance makeup artist. She took care of Peanut, who is blind and diabetic. Dereschuk writes, "You left [a] positive mark on this world and in my life and I will continue to live life with passion and love because I know that is what you would want." The GoFundMe page has currently raised over $18,000, surpassing its goal of $15,000.
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