Drag performer George Ward, known by his stage name Cherry Valentine, has died at the age of 28, his family said.
Ward, who died on Sunday, appeared on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK before launching a television career and hosting the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud.
A statement from his family said: “It is with heartbreaking and profound sadness that I have to announce 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 to announce this.
“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. We only ask for your patience and prayers during this time. We love you Georgie.”
Ward grew up in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveler community and qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015 before beginning his career in drag.
In December 2020, Ward was announced as one of 12 contestants taking part in the second series of the UK version of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In his introductory video for the show, he described his alter ego Cherry Valentine as “glamor”, “dark” and “gothic”.
He said his work as a nurse “put me in the right position to understand people a little bit better.
“When you’re a drag queen, you work with people. And to understand people, I think you go the extra mile.”
After appearing on the show, Ward teamed up with the BBC to produce a documentary exploring his Traveler legacy.
He revisited the community he left at the age of 18 in the 2022 special entitled Gypsy Queen And Proud.
He has also made public appearances, appearing in music videos by artists such as Charli XCX.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/22568196.drag-performer-george-ward-known-cherry-valentine-dies-aged-28/?ref=rss Drag performer George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, has died aged 28