Actor Who Made History In Broadway's 'Les Misérables' Dies At 21

Entertainment | 08/31/2015 | 08:00 AM EDT

Kyle Jean-Baptiste falls to his death from his mother's NYC fire escape

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the first African-American and youngest person to ever play the role of Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway died Friday, after falling from his mother's fire escape.

"The entire 'Les Misérables' 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 statement from the production reads.

Jean-Baptiste, a member of the ensemble cast, was the understudy for Valjean, and made his history-making debut in the role on July 23. His last appearance as the character was Thursday, the day before his death.

After making Broadway history, the young actor told Playbill: "I did not immediately think of it as making history. This was my dream since I was a little boy. This incredible team of creatives presented an opportunity to play a part I have dreamed of playing since I was introduced to theatre, and I am forever grateful. I felt a huge amount of responsibility to do right by them and to honor this iconic material."

Kyle Jean-Baptiste
was 21 years old. 

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