Family and friends are mourning the loss of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine.
The Darlington, England native, born George Ward, appeared as a contestant in the show’s second season in 2021. In a statement shared to Deadline, his family confirmed he passed away on Sept. 18 at the age of 28.
“It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George—Cherry Valentine—has tragically passed away,” their statement read. “This will come as a profound shock to most people, and 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,” they added. “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.”
In addition to his career as a drag performer, Valentine also traveled as a mental health nurse and helped with the COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic. Earlier this year, he also starred in a BBC Three documentary about his life, Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud.