Anna Shay, who became well-known after appearing in the first season of the Netflix reality series Bling Empire in 2021, has abruptly passed away.
The 62-year-old reality star’s family announced on Monday, June 5, that she died suddenly following a stroke.
They released a statement saying, “It breaks our hearts to announce the passing of Anna Shay, a devoted mother, grandmother, charismatic personality, and our brightest beam of sunshine, at 62 from a stroke.”
“Anna taught us many life lessons on how not to take life too seriously and to enjoy the finer things,” her family continued. “We will never forget her influence on our lives, but we will always miss her.”
Shay swiftly won over fans during the first season of Bling Empire. This reality series followed the glamorous lifestyles of a select group of affluent Asian and Asian-American residents of Los Angeles. However, the show was canceled after only three seasons.
She had a lot of mystery around her history, riches, and where it all came from, which contributed to the fascination surrounding her existence.
Her co-star Kane Lim described her on-screen as “half-Japanese and half-Russian and super, super wealthy,” and she cited “weapons” as one of the sources of her alleged billion-dollar wealth, saying that her father “sells bombs, guns, defense technology – and it’s worth, like, a few billion.”
Later, Shay refuted those assertions in an interview, saying: “I asked [Lim], ‘Why did you say my dad was in arms?’ ‘I don’t know.’” He believed he was knowledgeable, but perhaps he wasn’t and was merely speculating.
Since then, NBC News has revealed that Edward Shay, Shay’s father, founded the American defense and government services provider Pacific Architects and Engineers, or PAE. Edward Shay passed away in 1995.
Large organizations like NASA and the U.N. are among the clients of his company today, but according to the outlet, back in the 1960s and 1970s, “it provided cover for the Phoenix Program, a CIA-led operation to weed out undercover communist Viet Cong operatives and their sympathizers through a strategy that led to torture and, at times, killings of Vietnamese people and others.”
Shay acknowledged that she was taken aback by the kind of popularity and cult following that Bling Empire brought her, despite the fact that she herself never addressed her father’s professional background and role in what researchers have referred to as one of the “ugliest aspects” of the Vietnam War.
She also said, “I wasn’t even expecting to be in front of the camera,” adding, “I’m quite bashful and I went along with whatever situation was happening. I was only being myself.” Her son Kenny Kemp and a few unknown grandchildren are her only surviving family members.