Tragic news out of the world of reality television:
Anna Shay, who played a key role on Netflix’s Bling Empire, has died after suffering a stroke, Variety and other entertainment news outlets confirmed on Monday afternoon.
She was 62 years old.
“It saddens our hearts to announce that Anna Shay, a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star, and our brightest ray of sunshine, has passed away at the early age of 62 from a stroke,” her family said in a statement.
“Anna taught us many life lessons on how not to take life too seriously and to enjoy the finer things.
“Her impact on our lives will be forever missed but never forgotten.”
Shay, the daughter of a global defense contractor for Pacific Architects and Engineers, was born and raised in Japan.
She became an almost immediate fan favorite after appearing on Bling Empire to open in its inaugural season on Netflix in 2021.
Many viewers were confounded by her original story, her heritage and, most notably, the basis of her extreme fortune.
“Anna Shay is half-Japanese and half-Russian and super, super wealthy,” Kane Lim said during a confessional in season 1.
Although Lim said Shay’s money was built up via the “weapons” industry, Shay disputed this allegation at the time.
“I asked him, ‘Why did you say my dad was in arms?’” she told People Magazine. “He goes, ‘I don’t know.’ He thought he knew, but maybe he didn’t know and was just guessing.”
After Shay’s dad passed away in 1995, her brother Allen became CEO of Pacific Architects.
In 2006, Shay and her sibling sold the company to Lockheed Martin, making them heirs to the company fortune. Hence her status in life.
Shay went on to help anchor Bling Empire, considered by some to be the real-life version of the film Crazy Rich Asians.
She was a cast member alongside Lim, Gabriel and Christine Chiu, Kim Lee, Jaime Xie and other Asian American Los Angeles socialites.
The most recent season of Bling Empire — which aired on Netflix in October — featured Shay advising her other costars that “there are more things in life than superficial bullsh-t.”
Shay was last active on social media in December when she wished her followers a happy holiday season and gave an extra thanks to the aforementioned streaming service.
Wrote Bling Empire co-star Kevin Kreider as tribute to Shay on Instagram:
“You never know when your last goodbye will be.
“So unexpected and wished when I saw you last for lunch I would have taken a moment to smell the roses and had one last adventure with you.”
Shay leaves behind son Kenny Kemp. May she rest in peace.