Tributes pour in after Drag Race Thailand star Bandit dies aged 38

Tributes have poured in for Drag Race Thailand season two star Bandit Janthawanm, known by the stage name Bandit, who has died aged 38.

A fashion designer, Bandit placed fourth on the second series of Drag Race Thailand in 2019 and notably won the season’s acting challenge, alongside series winner Angele Anang, Vanda Miss Joaquim, Genie, Miss Gimhuay, and Mocha Diva.

According to sources close to the star, who spoke with Entertainment Weekly, the drag performer died on Tuesday (December 26). There are currently no further details immediately available around the circumstances of their death.

Heartbroken fans and friends were quick to issue emotional tributes to the beloved star, who they described as an “icon”, a “visionary” and an “inspiration”.

In a statement, World of World – the production company behind the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise – said: “We’re heartbroken to learn that Bandit, who competed on the 2nd season of Drag Race Thailand, has passed away.

“Bandit was a light in her local community and internationally, and she will be so missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. Rest in peace, Bandit.”

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“We’re all completely lost because Bandit has been a light. He has taught me. I would not be the same person I am today without Bandit teaching me about fashion,” Drag Race Thailand co-host and UK vs. the World star Pangina Heals told EW.

“He’s been such a visionary, such a giver. He’s always telling other people, ‘You can do this’ or, ‘Do that to be better,’ in terms of making sure other people have their fashion game on. He was such a funny person, such charisma, such magnetism, and without him, all of us don’t know what to do.”

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In an Instagram post dedicated to the star, Pangina Heals added Bandit was a “great light in our community” and said she does not “know how we can carry on”.

On social media, fans expressed their sadness at Bandit’s loss with many saying they can not believe the news and have been left “speechless”.

“An icon. She will always be remembered,” one fan wrote.

“She was such a great drag queen, she slayed her season with beautiful looks and great attitude, it’s really a loss,” another said.

“My absolute favorite from Thailand season 2. Gorgeous in and out of drag and a true fashion icon. RIP,” a third wrote.

“I am heartbroken to hear about the passing of Drag Race Thailand’s Bandit. She was an iconic queen and an inspiration to many. She will be deeply missed,” a fourth said.

Bandit is the fourth Drag Race queen to have passed away since the franchise began, following Sahara Davenport, Chi Chi DeVayne and Drag Race UK’s Cherry Valentine. 

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