RuPaul's Drag Race UK queen Cherry Valentine has died at the age of 28.
Their heartbroken family confirmed the news in a statement on Friday afternoon, saying that it was with 'heart-wrenching, deepest sadness' that they had lost their beloved.
Cherry – real name George Ward – appeared on the second series of the hit BBC show.
The drag queen's family wrote: "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.
"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. 30 November 1993 - 18 September 2022.”
A BBC statement read: "We are devastated at the passing of George, who we also knew as Cherry Valentine."
Fiona Campbell, BBC Three Controller says: "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."
Tributes poured in from friends and fans on social media in the wake of the awful news.
One person said: "The Cherry Valentine news is heartbreaking. 28 is no age at all, and she was such an important voice in UK culture."
Another said: "What awful news. Such a talent and taken from the world far too young. RIP Cherry Valentine."
A third wrote: "A brilliant drag performer who did so much for this world both as a nurse, and as representation for the gypsy community. A profound loss."
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