Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine died aged 28. (Getty)
RuPaul has paid tribute to Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine after her family announced that the drag queen and nurse had passed away, aged 28.
The host of RuPaul’s Drag Raceand the UK-based spinoff of which Cherry competed, posted her condolences on Twitter: “So sad to hear. A bright star and a lovely person. @TheCValentine Always in our hearts.”
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) September 23, 2022
Cherry Valentine’s family announced their death on Friday (23 September) in a statement, saying: “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.
“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched.”
Cherry also appeared in the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen and Prouddiscussing their roots in the traveler community.
No cause of death has yet been released.
After news of Cherry’s death was made public, former contestants on the British spin-off of the franchise have shared their memories and condolences online.
Tayce, who competed alongside Cherry on Drag Race UK’s second season, shared a single cherry emoji on a black background, followed by a lengthy caption.
“Absolutely devastated & crying as I write this… I wanted to post a montage of pictures & videos but it’s all to hard right now. I’ve never lost a friend before and it’s a numbing feeling, but my thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to her family and absolute nearest & dearest.
“Cherry was a force, a touchstone, one of the sweetest, kindest and caring people I’ve ever met. she was a point of contact to anyone who needed help and inspired so many. Please look after each other, check in, and don’t be afraid to ask for help ever.
“You never know what struggles people are going through. I love you George.”
Asttina Mandela and Gothy Kendoll, who also competed on the show, are among those posting their love on Twitter.
— Asttina Mandella (@AsttinaMandella) September 23, 2022
— (@gothykendoll) September 23, 2022
Sum Ting Wong, who competed on the show’s first season, wrote: “Jesus f**k I’m actually crying” alongside a cherry emoji, before adding that she started crying when her cab stopped beside a sign reading “gypsy hill”. This is in reference to Cherry Valentine’s roots in the Traveler community.
My cab just stopped for a second at a sign pointing to “gypsy hill” and I started crying again ffs. Everyone check in on your friends and loved ones, you never when’s your last chance x
— JustSum @ Twitch.TV/JustSum (@IsSumTingWong) September 23, 2022
Other queens who have followed suit are Sminty Drop, who features on season four, who wrote that she was “so blessed to have been able to call [Cherry] a friend and a sister”.
can’t believe this is even real.. so blessed to have been able to call you a friend and a sister you’re gonna be missed so fckin much I love you with all my heart I hope I make you proud RIP Cherry x pic.twitter.com/dN7oGFoKVJ
— Sminty Drop (@smintyd) September 23, 2022
Priyanka, the winner of Canada’s Drag Race‘s first season, wrote that the news is “absolutely devastating and shocking”.
oh my god this news is absolutely devastating and shocking. thinking about all the sweet run ins we had and convos about how thrilling it is to release your art. you’re so loved ♥️
rest in peace pic.twitter.com/aejtFalOH0
— queen priyanka – stream taste test (@thequeenpri) September 23, 2022
Yshee Black and Seddera Side are among other queens to have paid their respects to Cherry Valentine.
They write that Cherry stood for “laughter, joy and happiness”, and that she was “one of the most talented and beautiful queens in the world”.
I keep thinking of all the things Cherry stood for and knowing that laughter, joy and happiness were up there. So i’m going to do my best to bring laughter, joy and happiness throughout my day, on the hardest of days because her values will never leave me.
— Yshee Black (@ysheeblack) September 23, 2022
Rest in Peace to one of the most talented and beautiful queens in the world! Cherry Valentine you will be so so so missed! pic.twitter.com/ubgIzsoqcA
— Seddera Side⚡️ (@sedderaside) September 23, 2022
Fans have similarly been paying tribute to the drag queen and nurse on Twitter, with one writing that Cherry made her feel “comfortable” in her transition.
RIP Cherry Valentine. one of the first queens to welcome me to canal street when i moved to manchester. helped me feel comfortable in my early transition. always full of kindness and smiles. heartbroken. our community has suffered a great loss
— hazel ️⚧️ (@hazelroseee) September 23, 2022
RIP Cherry Valentine thank you for bringing so much fun & laughter during quarantine ️ pic.twitter.com/r4WRBqMJo5
— laura♈️ (@lust4lifelaura) September 23, 2022