RUPAUL'S Drag Race star Cherry Valentine sadly died at the age of 28.
The popular TV star's family announced the heartbreaking news in September 2022, saying their "lives will never be the same".
Who was Cherry Valentine?
Cherry Valentine – whose birth name was George Ward – was born and raised in Darlington, County Durham.
Growing up, George was part of a traveller community and qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015, before starting a career in drag, and becoming Cherry Valentine.
She was best known for starring on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
Cherry was also part of the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud, which was released in 2022.
Read more on Cherry Valentine
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Cherry Valentine dies at 28, heartbroken family reveal
Cherry Valentine tributes led by RuPaul as Drag Race star dies aged just 28
Speaking about how proud she was of the doc, the late star told Daze: "A lot of charities and organisations have reached out since the documentary.
"So it’s just really nice to be able to start to open up those avenues to see how much more I can get involved."
Cherry added: "I think primarily, as cliche as it sounds, the reason I did the documentary was to make people not feel alone."
When did Cherry Valentine compete on RuPaul's Drag Race?
Cherry appeared on the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK in 2020.
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In her introductory video for the show, she described herself as “glamour”, “dark” and “gothic”.
Of her work as a nurse, she said: “It put me in that right position to be able to understand people a bit more.
“If you are a drag queen you are working with people. And to understand people I think you go the extra mile.”
Cherry competed alongside the likes of Bimini Bon-Boulash, Joe Black and eventual winner, Lawrence Chaney.
For her big entrance to the show, she was seen wearing a stunning gothic black and red gown with a striking red headpiece.
She introduced herself by saying: "Roses are red, violets are blue, here's your winner of season two."
What has Cherry's family said about her death?
Cherry sadly passed away on September 19, 2022, aged just 28, after she took her own life.
A statement from the late star's family said: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.
“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.
"All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”
Fiona Campbell, controller of BBC Three which broadcasts RuPaul's Drag Race UK, hailed Cherry as an "inspiration" to so many.
She said: "We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine.
"A fan favourite and an inspiration to so many, we were privileged to have worked with him at BBC Three.
"He will be hugely missed by his many fans and friends. Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time."
Entertainers also paid tribute to Cherry at a memorial concert in London in November 2023.
“Had the honour of paying tribute to our sister Cherry Valentine last night,” said season three star Elektra Fence.
“The love in that room was real.
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“I performed in the look I wore the day Cherry & I met & performed to the Charli XCX song we shot a music video for
“Tell your friends, family & loved ones you love them.”
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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