The stars and artists of the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise pay tribute to performer Cherry Valentine, a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, who died Sunday aged 28.
Valentine, whose real name is George Ward, rose to popularity in competition in the second season of the spinoff series, where she was eliminated in the second episode. Ward’s publicist confirmed to The Times that he died on September 18. A cause of death was not confirmed.
“It is with heartbreaking and profound sadness that I have to announce that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away. This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way to announce this,” his family said in a statement provided to the Times. “As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same. We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched.”
In January 2021, Cherry Valentine walked into the study of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” and immediately made another queen laugh. In her grand entrance, Valentine slammed into a door frame with her ornate headdress, nearly knocking it over.
“Roses are red and violets are blue, here’s your season two winner,” she said after brushing off the mishap.
Ahead of her Drag Race UK debut, the Darlington artist described Cherry Valentine as “glamorous, she’s a club kid, she’s dark, she’s goth”. In addition to being a drag performer, Ward took pride in his work as a mental health nurse.
“I think it put me in the right place to be able to understand people a little bit better, and when you’re a drag queen you work with people, and to understand people I think you go a step further,” said he said as valentine.
The official Drag Race UK Twitter account remembered Valentine as “a good soul who brought joy and an unmistakable laugh to everyone she met”.
“She brought flair, panache and charm to #DragRaceUK, we will miss her dearly.” the show tweeted.
Drag Race UK Season 2 Miss Congeniality winner Bimini said Valentine is “one of those souls that’s so pure, so raw, so real.”
“I am incredibly fortunate to have known George and witnessed her contagious spirit.” she tweeted. “Her patience and kindness was her superpower. They saw you for you and not many people have that empathic trait. My heart.”
See more tributes from the Drag Race community below.
“As an artist, nurse and activist, Cherry will always remain a beloved member of our Drag Race family.” wrote Drag Race producer World of Wonder. “Cherry’s love and her irresistibly infectious laugh touched the lives of so many.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 Winner Alaska tweeted, “My heart breaks for the loss of one of our sisters… We will miss you Cherry Valentine… Sending so much love to her family and loved ones today…”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-09-23/cherry-valentine-dead-drag-race-community-pays-tribute ‘Drag Race’ stars mourn Cherry Valentine, who died at 28