RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star George Ward, known by his stage name Cherry Valentine, has died at the age of 28, his family has announced.
A statement from his family said: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.”
The performer died on Sunday, according to his family, and his death will “come as a profound shock to most people.”
“As his family, we are still processing his death, and our lives will never be the same,” according to the statement.
“We recognize how much he is adored and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and prayers during this difficult time. Georgie, we adore you.”
Ward was raised as a Traveller in Darlington, County Durham, and qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015 before pursuing his drag career.
Glamour, real name Amrou al Kadhi, a fellow drag queen and author, stated: “The devastating news about Cherry Valentine has left me speechless. I still can’t believe it. A true monarch. My dear, may you rest in peace.”
Ward was described as a “fan favorite” and an “inspiration” by Fiona Campbell, controller of BBC Three, which broadcasts RuPaul’s Drag Race in the UK.