Charlbi Dean, the actress and model starring in the upcoming Palme d’Or-winning movie Triangle of Sadness alongside Woody Harrelson, has died at the age of 32. Dean died in New York on Monday after an unexpected sudden illness, Rolling Stone has confirmed.
Along with Triangle of Sadness, the actress was also known for her recurring role in CW’s superhero series Black Lightning.
Born and raised in South Africa, Dean and her costars made headlines in May when Triangle of Sadness received an eight-minute standing ovation at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival before winning the festival’s top prize.
In the social satire from writer-director Ruben Östlund, Dean portrays an aspiring model and influencer who wins a trip on a luxury superyacht and takes her model boyfriend (played by 26-year-old “The Kingsman” actor Harris Dickinson) as her plus-one. Harrelson, 61, plays the yacht’s problematic captain presiding over temperamental guests, including a Russian oligarch and a British arms dealer.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Östlund shared a tribute to Dean on Instagram, writing, “Charlbi’s sudden passing is a shock and a tragedy. It is an honor to have gotten to know and work with her. Charlbi had a care and sensitivity that lifted her colleagues and the entire film crew. The thought that she will not be by our side in the future makes me very sad. At this difficult time, my thoughts go out to her loved ones, her family and her fiance Luke.”
In the DC Universe series Black Lighting, Dean played Syonide, the adopted daughter of the CW series’ main antagonist, Tobias Whale. Her character was featured in Seasons 1 and 2.
Born Charlbi Dean Kriek in Cape Town on February 5, 1990, Dean got her start in acting with the 2010 South African comedy Spud, which starred John Cleese and Troye Sivan.
In her modeling career, Dean most recently appeared in a new Madewell campaign titled “When the Fit Hits,” an effort to showcase actors in their “breakout moments.” The campaign went public last week.
“Our beautiful breath, will never breathe again. We love you forever and always,” Dean’s mother, Joanne Muller, wrote on Instagram Tuesday.
This post was updated on 8/31/22 at 9:06 a.m. ET with a statement from Triangle of Sadness director Ruben Östlund.