RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine has died suddenly at the age of 28.
The reality show contestant, who was known as George Ward outside his drag community, also worked as a mental health nurse.
Ward’s family shared the heartbreaking news on Friday morning UK time.
“It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away,” the statement read.
“This will come as a profound shock to most people & we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.”
The statement continued: “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.”
Ward appeared on the British version of the popular drag race show, finding fame on the second series.
He returned to the NHS to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic when filming was forced to take a hiatus.
READ MORE: Camilla tipped to ditch major royal role
Ward said in the series that his experience as a nurse “put me in the right position to be able to understand people a bit more”.
“If you are a drag queen you are working with people. And to understand people I think you go the extra mile,” he explained.
BBC Three, where RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is aired in Britain, also shared a statement on social media.
“We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine,” Fiona Campbell, BBC Three Controller, said.
“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.”
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here