Young, groundbreaking 'Les Miserables' actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste dies

KYLE JEAN BAPTISTE. Kyle, who is the first black man to play Jean Valjean in 'Les Miserables,' died at 21 years old. Screengrab from Twitter/@BaptisteKyle

KYLE JEAN BAPTISTE. Kyle, who is the first black man to play Jean Valjean in 'Les Miserables,' died at 21 years old.

Screengrab from Twitter/@BaptisteKyle

The 21-year-old made his Broadway debut at the end of July after being an understudy as the protagonist of the long-running show. 

"The entire Les Miserables 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 show said in a statement.

"A remarkable young talent and tremendous person who made magic - and history - in his Broadway debut." pic.twitter.com/144astegXh — Les Misérables (@LesMizBway) August 29, 2015

 

Police said Jean-Baptiste's death seemed to be accidental and that he fell from a fourth-floor fire escape in Brooklyn after slipping, The New York Times reported.

He was sitting on the fire escape with a friend when he stood up and fell backward, the paper said. He died the day after his final Les Miserables show.

"The ability to play this part on Broadway has been life changing. I'm so greatful," Jean-Baptiste tweeted shortly before his final performance as Valjean this week.

Jean-Baptiste had starred in several smaller shows before his big break and was due to appear in the Broadway show The Color Purple, a local CBS station reported. – Rappler.com