George Ward, better known to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK fans as Cherry Valentine, died on Sept. 18. He was 28. A cause of death has not been revealed.
“It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George — Cherry Valentine — has tragically passed away,” said Ward’s parents in a statement. “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,” the 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.”
Drag Race‘s production company, World of Wonder, added in its own statement, “We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of George Ward, a.k.a. Cherry Valentine. As an artist, nurse, and an activist, Cherry will always remain a beloved member of our Drag Race family. Cherry’s love and irresistibly infectious laugh touched the lives of so many. Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.”
Valentine appeared in Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and was eliminated in Episode 2.