AceShowbiz - "RuPaul's Drag Race UK" fan favorite Cherry Valentine has "tragically passed away." The drag queen, born George Ward, died on September 18, his family has confirmed. He was only 28 years old, while the cause of death has not been shared.
In a statement to the press, the family of the drag star said, "It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you 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 for this to be announced."
"As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same," they continued. "We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you, Georgie."
Cherry's sudden passing has led to outpouring tribute from those who recognized him. "Drag Race" production company World of Wonder issued a statement which read, "We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of George Ward, a.k.a. Cherry Valentine. As an artist, nurse, and an activist, Cherry will always remain a beloved member of our Drag Race family. Cherry's love and irresistibly infectious laugh touched the lives of so many. Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends."
RuPaul, who also hosts the U.K. version of the reality competition series, tweeted, "So sad to hear. A bright star and a lovely person. @TheCValentine Always in our hearts." Fellow drag queen Joe Black also mourned Cherry's death, "I'm in shock and not quite sure how to process the news. RIP Cherry. I will cherish the times we had together. An exceptional artist and person. My love goes out to their friends and family and everyone who knew them."
Meanwhile, Shea Coulee, who competed in season 9 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" and won the fifth season of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars", posted a tribute on their own Twitter page. "So shocked to hear about Cherry Valentines passing. It's so incredibly sad. She was an incredible artist, and her impact will be felt for a long time. Rest In Peace queen," they wrote.
Cherry was best known for competing in the second season of "RuPaul's Drag Race UK". This year, BBC released documentary about his life, titled "Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud". He also appeared in Charli XCX's "Good Ones" music video in late 2021.
Prior to competing on the show, Cherry trained as a mental health nurse in 2015 and worked through the coronavirus pandemic as a nurse for the National Health Service. In an interview for the competition series, he said working as a nurse "has put me in that right position where I'm able to understand people a bit more, and if you're a drag queen, you're working with people. By understanding people, you're going the extra mile."