Charlbi Dean dead at 32 after ‘sudden illness’ weeks before release of hit film

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CHARLBI Dean, star of the DC series Black Lightning, has died at the age of 32.

The South African actress and model passed away on Monday from an “unexpected, sudden illness”, her rep confirmed.

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Charlbi Dean has died at the age of 32Credit: AP

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Dean got engaged to her boyfriend of four years four months agoCredit: Charlbi Dean / Instagram

A source reported that Dean died at a hospital in New York City, although the exact cause of her death has not been announced.

Dean’s death tragically comes just weeks before the release of satirical comedy “Triangle of Sadness”, which was set to be her major break to make her a big name in the film industry.

The Oscar-tipped film – which stars Dean opposite Woody Harrelson – is due to be released in UK cinemas on October 28 and US theatres on October 7, with Dean portraying model Yaya.

It received an eight-minute standing ovation at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

She previously starred in the superhero show “Black Lightning” on The CW Network, playing the role of Syonide.

Her character was an assassin anti-hero with bulletproof skin and incredible combat skills.

Dean’s work also includes the films “Blood in the Water,” “Don’t Sleep,” “An Interview with God” and “Porthole”.

The rising star had got engaged to her boyfriend of four years, Luke Chase Volker, just four months ago.

She and the South African model, 26, lived in her hometown Cape Town with their dog – and she also owned houses in Hollywood Hills and New York City.

Dean is also survived by her parents, Johan and Joanne Kriek, as well as her brother Alexi Jacobs Kriek, who has posted a poem in her memory.

Writing on Instagram, he said he “unsure when writing who it would be about but life has answered in the most cruel way”.

Dean’s boxing trainer has said she was “happy, healthy, and in good spirits” just days before she tragically passed away.

Gary Stark Jr told The Sun in an emotional interview that he had a one-to-one session scheduled with the star on Monday before she cancelled last minute.

Stark – who has been training with Dean three times a week for the last month – last saw Dean on Friday, August 26, at the Gotham boxing gym in Lower Manhattan.

The former professional fighter, who found out about Dean’s death just moments before speaking with The Sun, said: “Oh my God, I was just with her.

“She was perfect, she was awesome … I didn’t see anything that she might have had.

“She was in perfect health and was just happy, smiling, and goofing around.

“I’m devastated right now, it just doesn’t feel real.”

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Triangle of Sadness was set to be Dean’s big breakCredit: Neon

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She had homes in Cape Town, Hollywood Hills and New York CityCredit: Charlbi Dean / Instagram

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The South African actress starred in the superhero series Black LightningCredit: The Mega Agency

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Dean played the role of Syonide in the seriesCredit: Allstar / Netflix

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