For three seasons, Anna Shay, a Russian-Japanese socialite/heiress, dazzled audiences as part of Bling Empire, the first American reality television series featuring a main cast of East and Southeast Asian descent. Sadly, Anna’s light faded on Monday (June 5), when her family announced that she had passed away. In a statement to TMZ, her family said, “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.”
“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,” the family added. Anna’s Bling Empire costar, Kane Lim, also shared her grief with TMZ. “I’m shocked to hear the news of Anna’s passing,” Lim said in a statement. “We had so many great memories together that were mostly behind the cameras, and I’ll keep that dearly in my heart. We had a real friendship. My deepest condolences to her family. She will be missed.”
Anna was the daughter of the late billionaire Edward Shay, who founded the Pacific Architects & Engineers, Incorporated in 1955. The company was initially an “architectural and engineering firm assisting the U.S. government effort to rebuild Asia in the wake of World War II,” according to the official PAE website. Edward died in 1995, and Anna’s mother, Ai Oizumi Shay, passed away in 2015. Before Anna’s mother died, the Shay family sold the company to Lockheed Martin in an all-cash, $1.2 billion deal in 2006, according to Variety.
Anna Shay was considered the matriarch of the show. She was known to have an adult son, Kenny Kemp, who made news when Buzzfeed News once wrote that he was a “sole heir to hundreds of millions of dollars and a passionate stoner” with a collection of water pipes – aka bongs – whose worth was near half a million dollars.
Anna also spoke about her son in a 2021 interview with Oprah Magazine. “I need to grow up a little bit,” she said, referring to her costars on Bling Empire. “Sometimes I think the other cast members are too serious. And I think the way that we grew up is very different. I had to put them in check. I’m not here to raise them. I’m here to make sure they’re OK. My son [Kenny Kemp] is 27. His friends are always over, asking me for advice. I’ve always been around kids as my mother was with me.”
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