“Absolutely devastated & crying as I write this,” wrote Tayce, as Valentine’s costars share heartbreaking tributes.
George Ward — who appeared as drag queen Cherry Valentine on “RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K.” — has died at the age of 28.
Ward’s parents announced the news in a statement released by his management, while keeping the details of his death private.
“It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George — Cherry Valentine — has tragically passed away,” they wrote. “This will come as a profound shock to most people & 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,” they added. “All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie 30 November 1993-18 September 2022.”
Ward, a member of the Traveller community who worked as a mental health nurse, appeared on the U.K. show’s second season and was eliminated in the second episode.
Following his death, the show posted a statement to social media.
“We are heartbroken that Cherry has passed away,” read the message. “She was a kind soul who brought joy and a distinctive laugh to everyone she met. She brought flair, verve and charm to #DragRaceUK, we will miss her so deeply.”
Nearly every single one of Valentine’s Season 2 costars posted heartbreaking tributes on social media as well after the news was announced.
“absolutely devastated & crying as I write this,” wrote Tayce. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Added Baga Chipz: “You were the epitome of kindness. Always there to knock a girl out of the blues and just a bloody lovely person. I love you sis. Thank you for being a friend. ❤️❤️❤️”
Bimini Bon Boulash honored Valentine as well, writing, “At a loss for words. One of those souls so pure, so raw, so real. I’m incredibly lucky to have known George and witnessed their infectious spirit. Their patience and kindness was their superpower. They saw you for you and not many people have that empathetic trait.”
“I am so sad to even begin thinking about posting this!” wrote Ellie Diamond. “Cherry brought so much life and laughs to whatever situation! Always someone who was caring and loving, her laugh lightened up a room like fireworks and will forever have a cherry red place in all our hearts ♥️! I love you my sister you will be missed!”
A’Whora posted on Instagram Stories, writing, “I cannot even begin to process today’s news. I honestly have never been so heartbroken and in a state of shock so much. I’ve lost not only a sister but someone who for the last 7 months has become my best friend who I would call and text about everything and anything!”
“We had so much planned and you had so much greatness ahead, and I know your legacy and talent will forever live on,” A’Whora continued. “I love you beyond words will ever understand! I will never stop being inspired by you and will continue to fight for your voice to be heard!”
Joe Black wrote, “I’m in shock and not quite sure how to process the news. RIP Cherry. I will cherish the times we had together. An exceptional artist and person. My love goes out to their friends and family and everyone who knew them.”
“Completely devastated and shook by the news about our friend Cherry,” tweeted Tia Kofi, sharing a link to a GoFundMe page set up in Ward’s honor. “She was extremely kind, generous and talented.”
“I’m crying so much and I’m also laughing at all the happy memories,” shared Ginny Lemon. “So many happy happy memories, the ‘tour time portal,’ the broken nail, and all those ‘silly silly girls’ and I’ll never forget the 9am goodnight hug. Cherry my darling, I love you so much, my heart is broken.”
Asttina Mandella, meanwhile, let emojis do the talking.