Miss Alabama 2021 winner Zoe Sozo Bethel has died eight days after sustaining severe injuries in an accident, her family has confirmed. The former model and Right Side Broadcasting Network reporter, who was crowned Miss Alabama for America Strong in 2021, died on February 18, her family said in a statement on her Instagram on Tuesday. She was 27.
“On Friday, February 18, 2022, at approximately 5:30 AM 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,” her family wrote.
The statement said that Bethel “touched the hearts of many” and was also involved in various organizations including Turning Point USA and 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 honored and respected,” the statement added. “The family members sincerely appreciate all of the kind words and expressions of love for Zoe.”
On February 17, Bethel’s family disclosed that she “sustained severe damage to her brain/brainstem & is in a coma” following an accident on February 10.
“This has been an abrupt & very traumatizing situation for our family, & we can imagine how much of a shock this will also be to everyone who knows & cares for her,” the family said at the time.
Many friends, fans and former colleagues have since taken to social media to pay tribute to Bethel.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Zoe Bethel’s family. Zoe was a beautiful girl who had a big heart for standing for what is right. She will be dearly missed. Rest in peace, Zoe,” Right Side Broadcasting Network tweeted.
The Miss Alabama America organization also wrote: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend and reigning Miss Alabama for America Strong, Zoe Bethel. She was a light in this world and we are heartbroken over the loss of such a bright and beautiful woman. Rest in grace and love, sweet one.”
Manhattan Republican Party Chair Andrea Catsimatidis tweeted: “RIP beautiful angel Zoe Bethel. Such a bright light, now shining down on us from heaven. Like everyone who knows you, I was so touched by your beautiful spirit. You and your family are in my heart and in my prayers.”
Bethel’s family members have urged supporters to donate to their GoFundMe page to help take care of medical and funeral expenses.