Vanessa Lachey is mourning the loss of NCIS Hawai'i writer Yakira Chambers.
The actress honored her late colleague in a moving tribute on Instagram.
"It's been a difficult week for our NCIS Hawai'i Ohana as we mourn the sudden loss of one of our talented writers, Yakira Chambers," Vanessa wrote Dec. 5 alongside a headshot of Yakira and a second picture of her writer's chair decorated in her honor. "All of the stories you see us bring to life on screen, started in the writing room and Yakira specifically wrote some of my favorite moments. She always wrote my character, Jane Tennant, as a strong badass woman and mother. It was important to her… and us."
She continued, "Her voice was powerful, and it will be missed greatly. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones who are currently figuring out life as this has left them in an unexpected precarious position. They've set up a GoFundMe page. Any small donation would be appreciated(link in my Bio). I am still at a loss and have hugged my babies even tighter than usual. Yakira, I will miss you, we will miss you… Rest In Love My Beautiful Angel."
The upcoming Jan. 9 episode of NCIS Hawai'i—airing the week after a three-hour NCIS universe crossover premiere Jan. 2—will honor Yakira and her work on the CBS drama.
Yakira, who was a story editor on the NCIS spinoff, died at the age of 42 on Nov. 30, her family told Deadline. She was with her mom at a mall in Newport Beach, Calif., when she started suffering breathing difficulties and then collapsed. Her preliminary cause of death, her family told the outlet, has been attributed to acute asphyxia.
Her mother, Constance Chambers told the outlet, "I miss her and will love her to eternity. I don't know what I will do without her."
Following her passing, Yakira's family also released a statement to Deadline.
"Her sudden and untimely death has left us all grief-stricken," the message began. "Yakira was a light, a symbol of hope to our community, a steward of our culture, and a representation of what pursuing your dreams looks like."
"Yakira's passion extended beyond her daily work in the business; she loved helping others create a way out of no way," her family continued. "She believed in equity, and the demarginalization of persons of color to create a level playing field for all. This passion was actualized in the form of her foundation, CureConstanceFoundation, an organization born out of the necessity for finding financial options for those in health crisis."