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Kyle Jean-Baptiste, Actor Who Made History in Broadway's 'Les Misérables,' Dead at 21

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who became the youngest and first black actor to play the role of Valjean in "Les Misérables," died in a fire-escape fall.
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Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who made history as the first black actor to play Jean Valjean in a Broadway production of "Les Misérables," died early Saturday after falling off of a fire escape. He was 21.

Jean-Baptiste fell from his mother's fourth-floor fire escape in Brooklyn at about 4 a.m. Saturday and died in the hospital, police told NBC New York. Police said he slipped and fell, and it appears to have been an accident. Jean-Baptiste was on the fire escape with a 23-year-old woman when he fell, police said.

This summer, the 21-year-old became the youngest and first black actor to play the role of Valjean in "Les Misérables." His understudy spot as Valjean ended on Thursday.

Jean-Baptiste called the opportunity his "dream role." The night he debuted as Valjean, he wrote on Twitter, "Guna remember this night." When he wasn't performing as Valjean, Jean-Baptiste was an ensemble member of the cast and often played Constable and Courfeyrac.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste
Kyle Jean-Baptiste.

"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," the company said in a statement.

Stars expressed their grief over Jean-Baptiste's death on Saturday:

Jean-Baptist was born in New York and had recently graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio. "Les Misérables'' was his Broadway debut.