RuPaul and Michelle Visage pay tribute to Drag Race UK’s Cherry Valentine, dead at 28

Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine against a dark background.

RuPaul has paid tribute to Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine after her family announced that the drag queen and nurse had passed away, aged 28.

The host of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the UK-based spinoff of which Cherry competed, posted her condolences on Twitter: “So sad to hear. A bright star and a lovely person. @TheCValentine Always in our hearts.”

Drag Race judge Michelle Visage shared an Instagram post from @dragraceukbbc, alongside a single heart emoji on her story. She commented “This is heartbreaking” on the post.

Cherry Valentine’s family announced their death on Friday (23 September) in a statement, saying: “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.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched.”
Cherry also appeared in the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen and Proud, discussing their roots in the traveller community.

No cause of death has yet been released.

After news of Cherry’s death was made public, former contestants on the British spin-off of the franchise have shared their memories and condolences online.

Tayce, who competed alongside Cherry on Drag Race UK’s second season, shared a single cherry emoji on a black background, followed by a lengthy caption.

“Absolutely devastated & crying as I write this… i wanted to post a montage of pictures & videos but it’s all to hard right now. I’ve never lost a friend before and it’s a numbing feeling, but my thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to her family and absolute nearest & dearest.

“Cherry was a force, a touchstone, one of the sweetest, kindest and caring people I’ve ever met. she was a point of contact to anyone who needed help and inspired so many. Please look after each other, check in, and don’t be afraid to ask for help ever.

“You never know what struggles people are going through. I love you George.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ⛓TAYCE⛓ (@itstayce)

Asttina Mandela and Gothy Kendoll, who also competed on the show, are among those posting their love on Twitter.

Sum Ting Wong, who competed on the show’s first season, wrote: “Jesus f**k I’m actually crying” alongside a cherry emoji, before adding that she started crying when her cab stopped beside a sign reading “gypsy hill”. This is in reference to Cherry Valentine’s roots in the Traveller community.

Other queens who have followed suit are Sminty Drop, who features on season four, who wrote that she was “so blessed to have been able to call [Cherry] a friend and a sister”.

Priyanka, the winner of Canada’s Drag Race‘s first season, wrote that the news is “absolutely devastating and shocking”.

Yshee Black and Seddera Side are among other queens to have paid their respects to Cherry Valentine.

They write that Cherry stood for “laughter, joy and happiness”, and that she was “one of the most talented and beautiful queens in the world”.

Fans have similarly been paying tribute to the drag queen and nurse on Twitter, with one writing that Cherry made her feel “comfortable” in her transition.