Inside Lyric McHenry's Death: Everything We Know About the 26-Year-Old Star's Tragic Death
Lyric McHenry died Tuesday after being found unconscious on a sidewalk in Bronx, New York
It’s been two days since reality star Lyric McHenry was found unconscious on a sidewalk and later died, but many of the details surrounding her death remain unknown.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the N.Y. Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE that an investigation is ongoing pending the medical examiner’s determination of her cause of death.
While officials work to piece together information, here’s a look back at the life of McHenry, who died a week after she turned 26 on Aug. 6, and her final hours.
Her Final Hours
McHenry, who appeared on E!’s EJNYC, died Tuesday morning of a suspected drug overdose, according to multiple reports.
She was found on a sidewalk at 5 a.m. above the Major Deegan Expressway at Undercliff Avenue and Boscobel Place in Highbridge in the Bronx area of New York, according to the New York Daily News.
She was found only wearing a pajama top and underwear, but no pants, the Daily Mail reports. According to the Daily News, a small Ziplock bag of cocaine was found on McHenry, and police suspect she died of an overdose.
After being found, she was taken to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, where she died. McHenry was reportedly 20 weeks pregnant.
A New York Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE a 26-year-old female was found unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the sidewalk in the vicinity of Undercliff Avenue and Boscobel Place, within the confines of the 44 Precinct, at approximately 5:05 a.m. on Tuesday.
The NYPD would not confirm her identity as it was pending proper family notification.
EMS then responded to the location and transported the woman to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased, according to the NYPD spokesperson. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation remains ongoing. No obvious signs of trauma were observed.
Her death came hours after she celebrated her birthday during a night out with friends. In videos on her Instagram Story, McHenry was at The Frederick Hotel, the Soho Grand Hotel and the Dream Hotel, and filmed a smiling video of herself in a bathroom wearing a pink dress.
She also shared video of herself sitting at an outside venue beside a male friend, who was documented saying “it’s her birthday” as she blew a kiss to the camera with the N.Y.C. skyline behind them.
Maya McHenry, Lyric’s sister who appeared on EJNYC, was also out celebrating and documented the evening on her Instagram Story. “Happy birthday to my sister! Why does she look so bomb? It’s a joke, okay,” Maya said as McHenry smiled into the camera while sitting beside the same male friend.
One day after the former reality star’s death, her family spoke out.
“The McHenry Family deeply appreciates the many communications of support from Lyric’s many friends upon learning of her untimely death at approximately 6:00 AM the morning of August 14th, 2018,” the family told PEOPLE in a statement. “Despite the speculation in earlier reports, at this point in time the cause of Lyric’s death has yet to be determined.”
“In contrast, what is factual and known is that Lyric who just turned 26 last week on August 6, was a brilliant, creative and lovely young woman who shared a deep passion for writing, film and a long-standing commitment to social justice. She was a Christian who grew up in Los Angeles and attended the Center for Early Education and graduated from the Marlborough School in Los Angeles.”
“Lyric graduated from Stanford University in 2014 where she studied in Paris, France for a year and spoke fluent French. She began her career in the entertainment industry as an intern on The Real Hollywood Husbands TV show. Thereafter, she worked at United Talent Agency (UTA) and found her true passion, internet content and went on to work at Refinery 29 and Complex.”
“Lyric worked on numerous social justice issues throughout her high school years including volunteering for the Obama Campaign in 2007-2008 at age 15 and again in 2012, both times working on the LA fundraising staff and organizing various campaign events. Lyric produced and raised funds via crowd funding for her first film which won several film festival awards, and was a Producer and member of the cast of E! show EJNYC.”
“Currently, Lyric was working on packaging and development of several well-regarded film and TV projects. She was also interviewing for several West Coast Media jobs having returned to LA in February from working in NYC for several years and preparing her applications for a business school MBA Program.”
“Lyric’s warmth, compassion and energy will be missed by many and the family would appreciate that all speculation surrounding the circumstances of death cease until the real facts are determined during the current investigation by the NYPD and the City of New York,” concludes the statement. “Lyric is the daughter of Producer and Director Doug McHenry, an award-winning filmmaker known for New Jack City, The Brothers, Jason’s Lyric and approximately 20 other films. He graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. Her mother Jennifer, a stylist to the stars including Oprah Winfrey as one of her clients. She is also survived by her sister, Maya McHenry.”
According to the family, the funeral service will be held in McHenry’s hometown of Los Angeles at a date to be determined.
‘Full of Life’ Before Her Death
Five days before her death, McHenry was “very excited about the future,” according to her family friend.
Lisa Nkonoki, who saw McHenry on Aug. 11, opened up about the last conversations she had with the reportedly pregnant 26-year-old.
“She was delightful. She seemed positive, healthy and full of life,” Nkonoki told the New York Daily News on Wednesday.
“She was so excited and sweet,” said Nkonoki, who spent time with McHenry at the 16th annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival on Saturday evening.
“She wrote me a nice note late Sunday or early Monday thanking me for everything. She was just wonderful,” Nkonoki added.
She and McHenry also saw each other earlier that week when the EJNYC star lovingly talked about her family.
“She spoke about her parents, her love for her family. She spoke about being best friends with Magic Johnson’s son and projects she’s working on. She was very excited about the future,” recalled Nkonoki, who found out about the tragic passing from McHenry’s father.
“He’s devastated. He had to get off the phone, he was just so devastated. I’m grateful he was able to call, but he was devastated. It’s just awful,” she said.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-622-HELP.