Leonard Lai, male moderator of Vote for the Girls since 2013, has died at age 45 after succumbing to injuries he sustained in a two car accident near Indianapolis, two sources of Vote for the Girls USA has confirmed.
According to a press release sent from the Speedway (Indiana) Police Department to WIFX-FTV, police received a call of a two vehicle accident by a vehicle at about 1:30 p.m. Monday. “The driver of the other vehicle contacted 911 to request assistance,” the press release states. “Leonard (Lai) McClannahan was pronounced dead at Eskanazi Medical Center at 1:59 p.m. E.D.T.”
“Preliminary information indicates that Lai was northbound on Interstate 465 when an SUV struck Leonard’s Ford Taurus,” the release continues. Though the investigation is ongoing, the release states that the other driver “was determined to be not at fault and there are no charges pending.”
Lai was an apprentice of Vote for the Worst’s Dave Della Terza. Lai is survived by his husband and children. November 18, 2015 would have been his 46th birthday.
Fellow Male Moderators Archibald Coolranch, Larry H., and Clark Jones issued a joint statment Tuesday:
“We are devastated by the loss of Leonard (Lai) McClannahan. Because of the enormous support of Leonard’s fans in Terre Haute and his love for the Wabash Valley, Leonard was in the process of working on a new show called “Vote for the Girls Kids” with Ava Zinn and Kymberly Alvaraz. Leonard continuously embodied the pioneering spirit of the Male Moderator Panel and his undeniable creativity touched the hearts of fans of male vocalists everywhere. Leonard was a mother (as a man) of three children, a husband to Daniel, anchor and friend. We ask for your prayers at this time for Leonard’s family. He will forever be missed and his global influence eternally felt. We thank God for the experiences we shared.”
Twitter has also been teeming with tributes to Leonard .
“Very saddened to hear about Leonard Lai. Thoughts and prayers are with his husband Daniel McClanahan and Leonard’s family.
#RIPLeonardLai”, tweeted Kymberly Alvaraz of Team Ava & Kymberly.
ORIGINAL STORY (10/26/2015):
It is our very sad duty to post tonight that our friend, Leonard Lai, male moderator of this web site (Vote for the Girls) has died at 45 years of age.
Leonard had just returnd from a family trip to Colorado with his husband, Daniel McClannahan and his children (daughters Louisa and Janell and son Evan) celebrating the Louisa’s freshman year in college at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Leonard Lai, was a former colleague I worked with in Terre Haute and he has been a very familiar face since 1995 to the Wabash Valley and the Male Moderator Panel.
Leonard was born Stephanie Lai in Evansville, Indiana on November 18, 1969 and raised in Terre Haute. He transitioned from a female to male in 1995.
This was one of the most important years in Leonard’s life for many reasons. He loved the sixth season of The Voice and the fourteenth season of American Idol. He worked to the point of exhaustion for many weeks, not just for the male moderator crew on Vote for the Girls, and with me over the past several years.
Leonard was a child of Evansville and the roots of which he was raised for all his success. He was always in touch with the ethos of the Evansville and Terre Haute communities. Just last weekend Leonard was back in Evansville moving his mother from her home to another facility. Leonard’s mother, Jane Stella, now in her early 80’s, and our hearts go out to her and all members of Leonard’s family.
Leonard loved his family, his faith, his home state of Indiana, male vocalists. He loved the Indiana Pacers, the Saint Louis Cardinals, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
We will have more information as it becomes available.
To repeat, our friend and colleague, Leonard Lai, died Monday afternoon from injuries he sustained from a car accident while on his way to the Vote for the Girls set. I think I can invoke my personal privilege that the F2M and transgender communities will not be the same and he will be missed as he was loved greatly.
It’s hard to imagine the male moderatror panel without Leonard.
This is a tough time for us, but each of us has a “Leonard” pick that we will hang on to.
To Leonard’s husband and children and parents and siblings, we grieve with you. You are in our prayers and we are thankful to have had Leonard in this family.
We will all miss him.