RuPaul’s Drag Race UK contestant Cherry Valentine has died at age 28. Their family released a statement saying, “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.” The family did not disclose a cause of death.
Cherry was born and raised in a Traveller community in Darlington, County Durham. She qualified as a mental health nurse and worked during the coronavirus pandemic as a crucial healthcare worker. She competed in the second season of the British version of the show, placing last but becoming a fan favorite for her stunning looks and powerful performances. She was also featured in a music video for Charli XCX’s 2022 song, “Good Ones.”
The BBC starred Ward in a documentary in 2022 called Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud, which explored her journey with drag and her return to the Traveller community that rejected her when she came out as gay. Despite being ostracized from her family, Cherry found acceptance in drag and was proud to be a queen.
Cherry’s friends and fellow queens have been speaking out since her death. RuPaul and the cast of Drag Race US sent their condolences to her family in a statement, calling her a “tough and kind” competitor with a “spirit and soul as big as her talent.” Her loss has left the drag community reeling.