Tributes pour in as iconic Drag Race UK star dies

'We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched'

by Ben Pulsford |

RuPaul's Drag Race UK fans woke up this morning to learn the devastating news that series two legend Cherry Valentine (real name George Ward) had tragically passed away at the age of 28.

Cherry's family confirmed the sad news in an official statement which is now being circulated on social media, sparking endless tributes to the adored drag queen and mental health nurse.

George's family said, "It is with the most heavy 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 & 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.

"All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time.

"We love you Georgie. 30 November 1993 - 18 September 2022."

The family's statement confirms that Cherry passed away last weekend, on Sunday 18 September.

Leading the tributes to Cherry were her series two Drag Race UK sisters including season winner Lawrence Chaney, Bimini and A'Whora.

Bimini posted the following on her Instagram Story, "I can't find the right words. I'm not sure they exist. You saw what others didn't and showed nothing but kindness, patience and grace. A pure soul. I'll cherish our memories and the things you taught me. You will continue to inspire me forever 🍒❤️."

Ellie Diamond posted a picture of herself and Cherry with the caption, "I am so sad to even begin thinking about posting this! Cherry brought so much life and laughs to whatever situation! Always someone who was caring and loving, her laugh lightened up a room like fireworks and will forever have a cherry red place in all our hearts ♥️! I love you my sister you will be missed! ♥️."

A'Whora poured her heart out on Instagram as she paid tribute to her sister and "best friend", "I cannot even begin to process today's sad news, I have honestly never been so heartbroken and in a state of shock so much!

"I've lost not only a sister, but someone who for the last 7 months had become my best friend who I would call and text about anything and everything! We had so much planned and you had so much greatness ahead, and I know your legacy and talent will forever live on.

"I love you beyond words will ever understand! I will never stop being inspired by you and will continue to fight for your voice to be heard!

"I love you."

Cherry Valentine
Cherry Valentine at Pride In Manchester 2021 ©Getty

Drag Race series one icon Baga Chipz posted, "Devastating news. Rest well sweetheart. What a gem 😢😢😢."

The sad news comes just a day after the launch of Drag Race UK series four on BBC Three. Fiona Campbell, BBC Three's Controller, released the following statement on behalf of the channel this morning, "We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine.

"A fan favourite and an inspiration to so many, we were privileged to have worked with him at BBC Three.

"He will be hugely missed by his many fans and friends. Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

World of Wonder, the production company who produce all Drag Race content released the following statement, "We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of George Ward, AKA 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."

RIP, queen 🍒❤️👑.

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