The family of former reality star Lyric McHenry are speaking out after she was found dead following her birthday night out.
McHenry, who appeared on E! show EJNYC alongside Magic Johnson’s son EJ, was discovered lying on a Bronx sidewalk early Tuesday after a night spent hopping between bars and nightclubs in lower Manhattan.
The 26-year-old, who was pregnant, was wearing just a pajama top and her underwear, and was found next to a bag of cocaine.
But her family are urging people not to speculate, and reminded that her cause of death was still to be determined.
The family of former reality star Lyric McHenry are speaking out after she was found dead following her birthday night out
Father: Director and producer Doug McHenry took his daughters Lyric (left) and her younger sister Maya on the red carpet for the launch of the 2008 Pan-African Film Festival in Hollywood. His credits include producing New Jack City and directing Jason’s Lyric
‘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,’ they said in a statement to People.
The described her as a Christian who grew up in LA, and graduated from the Marlborough School before she attended Stanford University. She was involved in social justice, volunteered for the Obama campaign and fundraised for charity, they said. She was preparing to apply for business school when she was found dead.
‘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,’ the statement from her family ended.
McHenry is survived by her father, director Doug McHenry, an award-winning filmmaker known for New Jack City and mother Jennifer, a stylist to the stars including Oprah Winfrey and sister, Maya McHenry.
A funeral service will be held in McHenry’s hometown of Los Angeles at a date to be determined.
Police believe a drug overdose claimed the life of the Stanford graduate, who had volunteered for the Obama campaign and been best friends from childhood with EJ Johnson, the son of Magic Johnson, with whom she had appeared in E!’s EJNYC.
Her mother Jennifer, 61, who lives in Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles collapsed Tuesday after hearing the news from her younger daughter Maya and was later taken away by emergency services.
Earlier this month she posted a birthday message on Instagram with the two posing together calling her ‘one of the greatest gifts of my life’.
Birthday tribute: Lyric McHenry’s mom Jennifer, 61, posted this birthday message for her daughter earlier this month. The 26-year-old was found dead, partially-clothed and with a bag of cocaine after celebrating her birthday. Jennifer, 61, is a Hollywood stylist who was treated in hospital in Los Angeles after learning of her daughter’s death. Her clients have included Oprah Winfrey and Samuel L. Jackson
Lyric McHenry, who appeared in the E! show EJNYC with Magic Johnson’s son EJ (pictured together), was found dead on a sidewalk in Manhattan wearing no pants on Tuesday
While McHenry spent the bulk of her birthday celebrations in lower Manhattan, she was found in the Bronx
Sisters: Maya McHenry posted this picture of her with her sister on social media hours before she was found dead, saying: ‘She always turns up for me.’
Neighbors told DailyMail.com that she ‘screamed hysterically’ for three hours on learning of Lyric’s death and said the personal shopper and style advisor is in ‘a bad way’.
Friends of the family said they suspected foul play and added that while the family knew she was pregnant, they had never heard of her taking drugs.
Retired criminal defense attorney Ardis Irvine, 86, a neighbor of McHenry’s mom told DailyMail.com the family had been told it seemed she had died somewhere else and been dumped where she was found.
Irvine added: ‘She didn’t die at the place they found her. She didn’t live in the Bronx, though she lived in New York.
‘She was partying for her birthday. She was found in a pajama top, no pants and a little pouch with some cocaine in it.
‘Her knees were all scraped up, so either she was dumped there or she crawled trying to get out of that area and then she passed out.’
Another family friend, who asked not to be named, said he also suspected that Lyric’s death than a simple drug overdose.
‘I knew her personally. She was friends with my cousin. She was over at my house probably about a month ago. It’s sad.
‘I don’t see how you can overdose like that. Why would you be on cocaine when you’re pregnant? It doesn’t add up. It seems like there’s some foul play involved.’
Irvine said that the dead woman’s mother had been distraught.
‘Jennifer’s other daughter called and told her mother that Lyric was deceased,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘I was in the back and I heard the screaming. At first I thought it was a dog. Then I thought it was a baby. But it kept going, louder and then softer, and it kept going.
McHenry was discovered above the Major Deegan Expressway (pictured) in the Bronx around 5am on Tuesday
Before her stint on television, McHenry was a Ron Brown scholar at Stanford University and worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign when she was just 15 years old
She then made her way to the Dream Downtown, a hotel in Chelsea, and enjoyed rooftop views
EJNYC lasted for one season E! and featured EJ and a slew of close friends in Manhattan. McHenry was also a producer on the show (they are pictured here on a recent trip to Miami)
She went on to work as an agent trainee at UTA before moving on to jobs in video production at Complex Networks and Refinery29
Morther: Lyric McHenry’s Hollywood stylist mom Jennifer, 61, (second from left) was taken to hospital after learning of her elder daughter’s death. She has styled Magic Johnson’s wife Cookie Johnson (right) whose son EJ Johnson was Lyric’s friend and co-star in EJNYC
‘It wasn’t like anyone being hurt, it was like someone hurting internally. Everyone was trying to find out what was going on. You can recognize the sound of pain coming from a woman.
‘The police and fire department came and took her to the hospital. There were four police officers and two ambulances from the fire department.
‘She’s in a bad way. If you get a call saying your daughter is dead, your life goes boom.’
Raised in Los Angeles, Lyric enjoyed a Hollywood upbringing – due in no small part to her parents’ careers in film and fashion.
In her Linkedin profile, stylist Jennifer notes that her clients include Magic and Cookie Johnson – on whose son’s reality show Lyric appeared – and LaTanya and Samuel L. Jackson.
Other clients include Oprah Winfrey, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and actor Forest Whitaker.
Lyric, a Stanford graduate, and her sister Maya later relocated to New York – where the pregnant 26-year-old spent her final evening celebrating her birthday in a hotel in Manhattan’s Tribeca district.
She had documented the evening on social media, posting photos of herself in a form-fitting pink dress at The Frederick Hotel before moving on to the Soho Grand.
Lyric then went on to a hotel in Chelsea, accompanied by her sister Maya. The 26-year-old was later found dead 12 miles north, close to the junction of I-95 and the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx.
McHenry’s aunt Patrice Theard, 56, said she was close to ‘breaking down.’
Irvine added: ‘She was a beautiful young lady. She didn’t live here, but I met both the daughters. They would come here in the summer time.
‘They were quiet, off on their own. I met the younger one through her mother. Being across the street from each other, you come out and you talk to each other.
‘They come every summer to visit their mother. I saw them last summer but I haven’t seen them since.
‘Her mother was trying to get her to move back here, but those kids have their own things going on.’