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Broadway's First Black Jean Valjean Dies At 21

Actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who made history earlier this summer as the first black actor — and youngest person — to play the lead character in Les Miserables on Broadway, died Saturday. He was 21.

A spokesman for the production said that Jean-Baptiste died after an accident: He fell from a fire escape in Brooklyn early Saturday morning.

Jean-Baptiste was an ensemble member of the musical's cast and an understudy for the role of Jean Valjean. He made his debut in that role on July 23.

He played Jean Valjean several times since — most recently, this Thursday.

"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 production said in a statement.

Numerous Broadway luminaries mourned Jean-Baptiste on Twitter Saturday. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical Hamilton, remembered Jean-Baptiste by posting a video of the two singing together a few weeks ago.

"Here he is," Miranda wrote. "What a light."

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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.