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First African-American actor to play lead on Broadway in Les Miserables has died

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
First African-American actor to play lead on Broadway in Les Miserables has died

The first African-American actor to ever play the lead on Broadway in Les Miserables has died at 21.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, also the youngest to take on the role, died on Friday night after falling from a fire escape, officials said.

Les Miserables theatre company said it was "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".

"We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time," it said in a statement.

Jean-Baptiste was an understudy for the role but finally made his history-making debut as Valjean - played by Hugh Jackman in the film version - on 23 July.

He said playing the part "was my dream since I was a little boy".

On 25 August, he tweeted that the experience had been "life changing".

"I thank everyone who supported me and still does. I will never forget this experience. Onwards and upwards ;). Nothing but love," he added.