Anna Shay, Star of Netflix’s ‘Bling Empire,’ Dies at 62

The matriarch’s family remembers her as “a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star, and our brightest ray of sunshine”

Anna Shay attends "Bling Empire" Season 2 Netflix Event on May 12, 2022, at a private residence in Los Angeles. (Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Netflix)

Anna Shay, star of Netflix’s “Bling Empire,” has died. She was 62.

“It saddens our hearts to announce that Anna Shay, a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star, and our brightest ray of sunshine, has passed away at the early age of 62 from a stroke,” her family said in a statement to media on June 5. “Anna taught us many life lessons on how not to take life too seriously and to enjoy the finer things. Her impact on our lives will be forever missed but never forgotten.”

Shay appeared on two seasons of the Netflix show, first showing up on the first season in 2021 and rising to fame for her outstanding wealth. The first season profiled Shay’s rivalry with international fashionista Christine Chiu in addition to a complicated love triangle situation between three other stars — self-made entrepreneur Kelly Mi Li, model Kevin Kreider and her ex-boyfriend “Power Rangers”.

Mi Li posted a tribute to Instagram, writing “RIP @annashay93 you are truly one of a kind and we will miss you forever.”

Anna Shay was the real life “Auntie Mame,” sweeping all of us up into her spontaneous and preposterous adventures, while gently offering us her common sense wisdom during our most challenging times,” wrote “Bling Empire” executive producer Jeff Jenkins wrote on Instagram. “I adored her. The show Bling Empire would not have existed without her. She gave everything and took nothing. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.”

“You never know when your last goodbye will be,” Kreider wrote on Instagram. “So unexpected and wished when I saw you last for lunch I would have taken a moment to smell the roses and had one last adventure with you.”

As she rose to fame, speculation about the origins of Shay’s wealth arose. Shay’s father founded Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), which covered the Phoenix Program, a CIA-led operation to scan for undercover communist Viet Cong, according to NBC News.

Co-star Kane Lim attributed Shay’s wealth to a fortune “from weapons.” Lim said that Shay’s father Edward “sells bombs, guns, defense technology — and it’s worth, like, a few billion.”

Shay confronted Lim about this, disputing the claim.

“I asked him, ‘Why did you say my dad was in arms?’” she told People. “He goes, ‘I don’t know.’ He thought he knew, but maybe he didn’t know and was just guessing.”

Lim posted a tribute to the heiress on Instagram.

“Rest in Peace ? You had a nonchalance about you that was mesmerizing and captivated audience around the world. I was lucky to get to know the real you and not many knew about our friendship off cameras,” he said in his post. “We had a real friendship and though the show made things a little crazy at times you knew who I really was as a person and had my back.” 

Co-stars Kim Lee, Florent Bonadei and Cherie Chan also expressed their condolences.

Shay is survived by her son Kenny Kemp.