RISING star Charlbi Dean was happy, healthy and in good spirits just days before she tragically died of an unknown sudden illness, her boxing trainer says.
The 32-year-old actress and model, best known for her role as Syonide on Black Lightning, died Monday in a New York City hospital, shortly after succumbing to an “unexpected illness,” her reps said.
Dean’s boxing instructor, Gary Stark Jr., told The US Sun in an emotional interview that he had scheduled a 1-on-1 session with the star on Monday before she canceled at the last minute.
“She was supposed to train with me yesterday and she’s never been a no-show,” said Stark, who has been training with Dean three times a week for the past month.
“When I asked what happened [the owner of the gym] said he didn’t know.
“But it seemed strange… we were supposed to be back training on Wednesday at 10am.
“I just can’t believe she’s gone.”
Stark last saw Dean on Friday, August 26th at the Gotham Boxing Gym in Lower Manhattan.
The former professional fighter, who learned of Dean’s death just moments before speaking to The US Sun, said she arrived in excellent health and made no mention of feeling under the weather.
“Oh my god, I was just with her,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.
“She was perfect, she was amazing … I didn’t see anything that she could have had.
“She was in perfect health and was just happy, smiling and fooling around.
“Boxing is such a mental and physical workout and she was absolutely on point,” he added.
“I’m devastated right now, it just doesn’t feel real.”
It is currently unclear what sudden illness Dean was battling at the time of her death.
Stark shared two videos with The US Sun showing Dean smiling and laughing while working out just days before her tragic death while vigorously slapping his pads.
“FUNNY AND ALWAYS SMILING”
Dean recently landed the biggest acting role of her career to date, starring with Woody Harrelson in the upcoming film Triangle of Sadness, which received an eight-minute standing ovation at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
She also recently got engaged to her longtime boyfriend Luke Chase Volker, who Stark said the last time he trained with her was at the boxing gym with Dean.
“I can’t imagine what he has to go through,” Stark said of Volker.
“Luke is such a good kid. I remember Charlbi telling me he made dinner for her and I asked him, ‘Wow, Luke. Do you cook too?’
“What a life they seemed to lead together… it’s just so sad oh my god!”
Despite only knowing Dean for a few weeks, Stark said he and Dean managed to develop a close friendship in that short amount of time.
Referring to her as his “little sister,” Stark added, “We hit it off straight away.
“She was funny, just always smiling and cracking jokes.
“She was very quick-witted, very smart and very humble.
“I didn’t even know she was in a movie, I just thought she was a big model.
“But that’s just how she was, she never presented herself as better than everyone else.”
Dean played the role of Syonide on The CW Network’s superhero show Black Lightning.
Her character was an assassin anti-hero with bulletproof skin and incredible fighting skills.
The up-and-coming talent’s other acting credits include the films Blood in the Water, Don’t Sleep, An Interview with God, Porthole and the upcoming Triangle of Sadness.
As a model, she has been photographed for British Vogue, Tatler, GQ and Cosmopolitan magazines.
She narrowly escaped death in 2009 after a horrific car accident in her hometown of Cape Town, South Africa.
As a result of the accident, Dean suffered a collapsed lung, damaged two vertebrae and fractured his wrist, four ribs and an elbow, Cape Town Etc.
Life-saving surgery after the accident resulted in her “signature” belly scar, the outlet added, which Dean later proudly flaunted in a fashion show hosted by Ami Alexandre Mattiussi.
Triangle of Sadness is slated to hit theaters on October 8th.
Volker has not yet spoken publicly about Dean’s tragic death.
https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/6112416/charlbi-deans-final-days-death-boxing-trainer-actor/ Charlbi Dean’s final days have been revealed by a trainer who said the DC actress canceled at the last minute just hours before the shock death