'Bling Empire' Star Anna Shay Dead from a Stroke at 62 (Exclusive)

'Bling Empire' Star Anna Shay Dead from a Stroke at 62 (Exclusive)

 Bling Empire matriarch Anna Shay has died unexpectedly, PEOPLE has confirmed. She was 62.

“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 appeared on Bling Empire starting in its inaugural season on Netflix in 2021, quickly becoming a fan favorite.

As her notoriety grew, fans were intrigued by the mystery surrounding her wealth.

"Anna Shay is half-Japanese and half-Russian and super, super wealthy," Kane Lim said during a confessional in season 1.

Though Lim said Shay's money was accrued from "weapons,” Shay disputed the claim. “I asked him, 'Why did you say my dad was in arms?'" she told PEOPLE. "He goes, 'I don't know.' He thought he knew, but maybe he didn't know and was just guessing."

In reality, Shay’s father was the founder of Pacific Architects and Engineers — a global contractor for American defense services dating back to the 1960s, according to NBC.

Shay previously told PEOPLE she didn’t anticipate her success from Bling Empire. “I wasn't even expecting to be in front of the camera,” she said. “I'm very shy and I went along with whatever situation was happening. I was just being me.”

The most recent season of Bling Empire — which aired on Netflix in October, showed Shay advising her other costars that, though they’re finding fame from their extravagant lifestyles, "There are more things in life than superficial bulls---.”

Shay was last active on Instagram in December when she wished her followers a happy holiday season and gave an extra thanks to Netflix.

The reality star leaves behind son Kenny Kemp. Though the statement refers to Shay’s grandchildren, their identities are not publicly known. 

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