George Ward, popularly known as drag queen Cherry Valentine has died. Ward was 28 years old and rose to fame as a performer on BBC’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. His family recently released a statement through his agent, confirming his death and asking for patience and prayers from the public.
The BBC expressed their condolences to Ward’s family in a statement, saying they were privileged to work with the late performer. Ward rose to fame as Valentine when he featured in six episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. When he was introduced, Ward expressed gratitude for the opportunity and shared more information about his life.
Since Ward’s death, thousands of pounds have been raised in his memory and will go towards holding a vigil for the late performer. Several drag race UK stars have contributed to the fundraiser, including Lawrence Bolton, aka Tia Kofi, and Luke Underwood-Bleach, aka Cheryl Hole.
Read on to find out more.
George Ward’s Family Confirmed His Death
In a statement released by Ward’s agent on Friday, his family confirmed his death. The statement read, “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 & we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.”
They wrote that the family is still processing his death and that the loss has forever impacted their lives. The statement 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 at this time. We love you Georgie 30 November 1993-18 September 2022.”
The BBC Shared Their Condolences
We are heartbroken that Cherry has passed away. 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. pic.twitter.com/4LG7oHaVZj
— RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (@dragraceukbbc) September 23, 2022
The BBC also shared its condolences to Ward’s family in an official statement. It read, “We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine.”
The statement continued, “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.”
George Ward Rose To Fame As Cherry Valentine
Ward was born in what he called a “gypsy camp” in Darlington, England, and rose to fame as Valentine on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.” He joined the show in its second season, featuring for six episodes and dazzling fans as Valentine.
During an appearance, Valentine introduced himself to fans. He said, “For those of you who have said that I have not been doing drag long enough, take a look. I’ve been doing it as long as I need. Cherry Valentine, she is everything. She is glamour, she’s dark, she’s gothic.”
He also revealed that he was a qualified mental health nurse, saying, “I am 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 bit more, and if you’re a drag queen you’re working with people and don’t understand people, I think you go the extra mile.”
The late TV personality also expressed gratitude for featuring on the reality show. Ward said that he’d never thought he “would be doing this” and that he was proud that he was able to be there. He concluded with, “The world is now my stage, and I’m going to use it. That’s exciting; it gives me shivers.”
A Fundraiser In Memory Of George Ward AKA Cherry Valentine
Shortly after Ward’s family confirmed his death, a fundraiser was set up and raised thousands of pounds in less than six hours. Fundraiser organizer Adam Edwards thanked everyone who donated and said the money would go towards holding a vigil for Ward.
However, Ward’s family has not confirmed if they’re aware of the fundraiser and vigil. According to ITV news, several of Ward’s former Drag Race competitors donated to the fundraiser. They include Dexter Clift, aka River Medway, Lawrence Bolton, aka Tia Kofi, Luke Underwood-Bleach, aka Cheryl Hole, and George Boyle, aka A’Whora.
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