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'Les Misérables' actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste dead at 21 after fire-escape fall

By Karen Butler
'Les Misérables' actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste dead at 21 after fire-escape fall
Photos of Kyle Jean-Baptiste, courtesy of the official "Les Miserables" Twitter account.

NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Broadway actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste has died after falling from a fire escape in New York. He was 21.

Jean-Baptiste made history last month when he became the youngest actor and first African-American man to perform as Jean Valjean on Broadway in the revival of Les Misérables, Playbill.com reported.

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"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 show's producers said Saturday.

No details regarding the circumstances of his death -- other than it happened after Friday's performance -- were immediately disclosed to the public.

The understudy and Les Misérables company member took to Twitter throughout the summer to express his excitement and gratitude at getting the chance to fill in as the iconic, 18th-century hero, while its regular portrayer Ramin Karimloo was out.

"Today I go on as my dream role. No words. Guna remember this night @BroadwayBlack @LesMizBway @understudies #blackvaljean @lesmisofficial," the actor tweeted.

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"Thank you for all the love ! Last night was one of the best nights of my life. Thanks to all who came. C U at the barricade," read a subsequent post.

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