George Ward, an artist who played on BBCs RuPaul’s Drag Race UK as Cherry Valentine, passed away. He was 28.
In a statement released Friday by his agent, Ward’s family wrote: “It is with the most heartbreaking and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has passed away tragically.”
“This will come as a deep shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way for this to be disclosed. As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same,” the statement continued.
The family added: “We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. We only ask for your patience and your prayers during this time. We love you Georgie November 30, 1993 – September 18, 2022.” An official cause of death for Ward was not revealed.
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The BBC also expressed their condolences in an official statement. “We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine,” the organization wrote.
“A fan favorite and an inspiration to so many, we were privileged to work with him on BBC Three. He will be greatly missed by his many fans and friends,” the BBC continued. “Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”
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Ward, who was born in Darlington in the North East of England in what he described on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK as a “gypsy camp,” was featured in six episodes of the show’s second season in 2020, where he first introduced Cherry Valentine to fans.
“For those of you who said I haven’t been in drag long enough, look. I’ve been doing it for as long as I need to. Cherry Valentine, she’s everything. She’s glamour, she’s dark, she’s goth ‘ the star said during an appearance on the show.
Ward also noted that he qualified as a mental health nurse, explaining, “I’m not just a drag queen, I qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015.”
“I think it put me in the right position to understand people a little bit more, and if you’re a drag queen, you work with people and you don’t understand people, then I think you go a step further,” added Ward ready.
The television star also expressed gratitude for being a part of the reality show, stating, “I never thought I’d do this. … Sitting here now makes me feel really proud. Really proud. The world is now my stage, and I’m going to use it. That’s exciting, it gives me shivers.”