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'B.A.P.S.' star Natalie Desselle-Reid dies of cancer at 53; Halle Berry 'heartbroken'

Natalie Desselle-Reid, who's best known for playing Halle Berry's stylish sidekick in the 1997 film "B.A.P.S.," has died from colon cancer. She was 53.
Natalie Desselle, left, and Halle Berry in BAPS, 1997.

Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid, who's best known for playing Halle Berry's stylish sidekick in the 1997 cult classic "B.A.P.S.," has died from colon cancer. She was 53. 

"It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share the loss of our beautiful Natalie this morning from colon cancer," reads a statement on Desselle-Reid's Instagram account. "She was a bright light in this world. A queen. An extraordinary mother and wife."

The statement added that Desselle-Reid's "diverse career touched so many and she will be loved forever."

Desselle-Reid is best known for playing Mickey opposite Berry's Nisi in "B.A.P.S.," a comedy that follows a pair of aspiring female entrepreneurs' unlikely journey to opening a joint soul food restaurant and hair salon in Los Angeles. They soon live the lives of "Black American Princesses" after caring for a Beverly Hills millionaire.

Berry said the death of her co-star has left her "completely heartbroken."

"i’m in total shock," Berry captioned an Instagram video of the duo hugging on set of the film. "Completely heartbroken. gonna need a minute. #RIP"

Just four days ago, Berry posted a throwback Instagram video of her and Desselle-Reid in character while shopping on Rodeo Drive. When a fan commented, "You do know there is a whole generation of us that are obsessed with this movie," Berry replied: "I do and I love you all for that. this film is very dear to my heart."

Je’Caryous Johnson – the CEO of Je’Caryous Entertainment, which was planning a stage adaption of “B.A.P.S." – said Reid was looking forward to bringing her role as Mickey in the film back to life.

Johnson said everyone fell in love with Reid’s “undeniably witty, always giving and caring and hilariously show-stopping personality” during rehearsals earlier this year.

“The world has truly lost one of its most angelic souls here on Earth,” Johnson said in a statement, noting the dedicated approach Reid took to her acting. “There will never be another woman like her who so effortlessly lit up the screen, as well as any room she walked into.”

Desselle-Reid notably starred as Minerva in the inclusive retelling of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" (1997) alongside Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg. 

In 2018, Desselle-Reid recalled: "At this point in my career out of thousands of girls from N.Y to L.A. I thought I wasn’t going to get Minerva in 'Cinderella' and then the skies opened up #Disney."

Desselle-Reid starred as Eve’s friend Janie Egins over a three-season span on the UPN sitcom “Eve” from 2003-2006. Her other acting credits include the films "How to Be a Player" (1997), "Madea's Big Happy Family" (2011) and the TV show "Built to Last" (1997).

"Sending my love and condolences out to Natalie Desselle family. Had the pleasure of working with her on Tyler Perrys 'Madea Big Happy Family' sending my love," tweeted rapper and actor Bow Wow. 

 Actress Holly Robinson Peete said she's "absolutely decimated by this news."

"I got to know her when my mom was managing her," Peete recalled. "She will be so missed...sending out prayers to her children and husband. Rest In Peace, Sweet Girl."

Desselle-Reid is survived by her husband, Leonard, and the couple's three children: Sereno, Summer and Sasha, according to her IMD page. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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