‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star Chi Chi DeVayne remembered as queen and ‘dancing angel’
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” fans are mourning the death of drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne.
The performer’s family confirmed the death Thursday on Instagram but did not release the cause.
Emmy-winner RuPaul Charles, who tweeted his condolences, was among the first to alert fans that the 34-year-old former contestant died, before a family statement was posted on DeVayne’s account.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne. I am so grateful that we got to experience her kind and beautiful soul. She will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. May her generous and loving spirit shine down on us all,” RuPaul said in a statement Thursday on the show’s official account.
Adding: “On behalf of VH1, World of Wonder and the cast and crew of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I extend my deepest sympathy - from our family to hers.”
“It is with tremendous sorrow that my family and I announce the passing of my beloved son, Zavion Michael Davenport, the world renowned ‘Chi Chi Davayne,” the Davenport/Wyandon family said in the statement, adding, “His final words to his family and fans, ‘Never give up!’”
World of Wonder, the production company behind “Drag Race,” said DeVayne’s drag “spread a message of love and kindness that truly touched each person she met.”
DeVayne was a classically trained dancer who competed on the series in 2016 and returned for an all-star edition that aired from 2017 to 2018. The Shreveport, La. native and self-proclaimed “cheap queen” left her mark on the reality series as a lip-sync assassin and made it to the final four during her first season. She later finished sixth on “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.”
Entertainment Weekly reported that she died less than a week after informing Instagram followers that she was back in the hospital. (DeVayne was hospitalized with high blood pressure and suspected kidney failure in July, EW said.) In a video message shared Saturday, DeVayne asked fans to keep her in their prayers. She appeared in a hospital bed attached to medical equipment.
She told fans that she had to undergo dialysis and had catheters inserted in her heart and kidneys. TMZ reported that she had been battling pneumonia.
Several fans posted their condolences Thursday in response to RuPaul’s tweet, as did “Drag Race” veterans across social media. They fondly remembered DeVayne as a “dancing angel” and a “beautiful soul.” Media watchdog GLAAD also commemorated the “incredible performer.”
“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi tweeted that DeVayne was “so down to earth and a bright light in the drag community,” and inspiration to countless young LGBTQ people.
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