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UK drag Race star Cherry Valentine dies aged 28

Cherry’s family released a statement over their ‘heart-wrenching’ loss (Picture: thecherryvalentine/Instagram/BBC)

Drag queen Cherry Valentine, who appeared on the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, has died at the age of 28.

The performer, who was born George Ward, died on Sunday, a statement from their family announced, as tributes from fans and fellow stars of the show flooded social media.

‘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 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 continued: ‘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 a tribute, Drag Race UK said they are ‘heartbroken that Cherry has passed away’.

‘She was a kind soul who brought joy and a distinctive laugh to everyone she met. She brought flair, verve and charm to #DragRaceUK, we will miss her so deeply,’ the statement read.

BBC Three also said: ‘We are devastated at the passing of George, who we knew as Cherry Valentine.’

Fiona Campbell, BBC Three Controller, added: ‘We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of

George, known to many as Cherry Valentine.’

Ward, who was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community, qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015.

When the production for Drag Race UK series two was put on hold from March 2020 up until November that year due the coronavirus pandemic, Ward felt determined to resume his nursing.

In January 2021 before the launch of the season, Ward spoke to, explaining that during the hiatus, they thought: ‘I can’t just sit at home, I need to be doing something.’

‘I ended up going back into [nursing], working in neuro for a bit for a couple of months. It was high intensity neuro for adults, so it was [treating patients with] brain damage and brain injuries,’ they said at the time.

‘It was a weird crossover because I’m obviously mental health-trained. During the pandemic, it was very physical health-focused, so it was dealing with Covid, which was a bit of a shock. I did that until we went back filming again.’

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