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Who Was NCIS: Hawaii's Yakira Chambers?

The "NCIS" family is mourning a terrible loss. On December 6, Vanessa Lachey — who plays Special Agent-In-Charge Jane Tennant on "NCIS: Hawaii" — took to Instagram to share about the death of one of the show's own. "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," she wrote. Lachey shared that Chambers — who not only served as a writer but also as a story editor for "NCIS: Hawaii"– wrote some of her favorite moments on the show, including some key ones for Lachey's character. "She always wrote my character, Jane Tennant, as a strong badass woman and mother. It was important to her ... and us," wrote Lachey. "Her voice was powerful, and it will be missed greatly."

As Deadline reported on December 6, Chambers died at age 42 after she collapsed while shopping with her mother in Newport Beach, California. The reported cause of death is acute asphyxia. In all, Chambers had a hand — either as story editor or staff writer — in 31 episodes of "NCIS: Hawaii." She is survived by her mother, husband, and stepson.

Chambers had a promising career

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Yakira Chambers first intended to go into the business world, earning a master of business administration from Southern Illinois University before deciding to focus on a career in film and television (via Deadline). After moving to Los Angeles, Chambers trained at the Joanne D. Baron/D.W. Brown Studio's acting intensive program, and completed the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer in Oxford Programme. Chambers would go on to appear in television series like "Insecure" and "The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl," and films such as "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." She also played former First Lady Michelle Obama in "The M.O. Diaries" (via IMDb).

Chambers joined the writing staff of "NCIS: Hawaii" in 2021 after completing the highly competitive ViacomCBS Writers Mentoring Program. At the time of her death, she was also writing and producing some of her own projects, including a pilot for a show called "Myseducation," which focused on her experiences going to an all-white high school while growing up on Chicago's South Side.

In a statement, Chambers' family said that she was also involved in charity and advocacy, setting up the CureConstance Foundation, which sought to help those experiencing health crises find financial assistance. "Her sudden and untimely death has left us all grief-stricken," read the statement, "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." A GoFundMe has been set up to help Chambers' surviving family members. There are also plans to pay tribute to her during the three-hour "NCIS" crossover event on January 2.