‘Bling Empire’ star Anna Shay dies of stroke aged 62 (exclusive)

PEOPLE Can Confirm ‘Bling Empire’ Matriarch Passed Away, With Family Sharing Shay Will Be ‘Forever Missed’

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empire bling matriarch Anna Shay has passed away unexpectedly, PEOPLE has confirmed. She was 62 years old.

“We are saddened to announce that Anna Shay, a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star and our brightest ray of sunshine, has passed away at the age of 62 from a stroke.” his family said in a statement. “Anna taught us many life lessons about not taking life too seriously and enjoying the good things. His impact on our lives will be forever missed but never forgotten.

Shay appeared on empire bling starting in its inaugural season on Netflix in 2021, quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Related: "Bling Empire" Anna Shay on What the Series Went Wrong and Where It Stands With Christine Chiu

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As her notoriety grew, fans were intrigued by the mystery surrounding her wealth.

“Anna Shay is half Japanese and half Russian and super, super rich,” Kane Lim said during a Season 1 confessional.

Although Lim said that Shay’s money came from “weapons”, Shay disputed that claim. “I asked him, ‘Why did you say my dad was armed?'” she told PEOPLE. “He says, ‘I don’t know.’ He thought he knew, but maybe he didn’t and was just guessing.”

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In reality, Shay’s father was the founder of Pacific Architects and Engineers — a global contractor for the U.S. Defense Services dating back to the 1960s, according to NBC.

Related: "Bling Empire" Season 3 Returns With More Heartbreak, Heated Showdowns, and a Surprise Guest

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David Livingston/WireImage

Shay has previously told PEOPLE that she didn’t anticipate her success from empire bling. “I didn’t even expect to be on camera,” she said. “I am very shy and I accepted all the situations that occurred. I was just me.

The last season of empire bling – which aired on Netflix in October, showed Shay informing his other partners that, although they find fame through their extravagant lifestyles, “There is more to life than superficial bulls — -.”

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Shay was last active on Instagram in December when she wished her followers happy holidays and thanked Netflix.

The reality TV star leaves behind her son Kenny Kemp. Although the statement refers to Shay’s grandchildren, their identities are not publicly known.

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