Ward’s agency, On the Box Talent, shared the news of his death via a statement from his family on Thursday (Sept. 22). “It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away,” the statement posted to Instagram alongside a photo of Ward reads. “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.”
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Ward’s cause of death is still unknown to the public.
Before appearing on Drag Race, Ward worked as a mental health nurse and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked in vaccination units. The Darlington, England native first rose to fame on the sophomore season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK in 2021, and while she was eliminated on the second episode, Cherry Valentine quickly became a fan-favorite.
Upon hearing the news, RuPaul took to Twitter to remember Cherry as “a bright star and a lovely person.” Michelle Visage, who sits alongside RuPaul on the Drag Race judges panel, also shared a heartfelt tribute on Instagram. “Cherry, you beautiful soul. After watching your documentary my eyes were opened and I learned so much and I thank you for that, for teaching me,” she wrote alongside a photo of the star. “I hate that you had any doubts about who you were because to me you were perfect. I only wish you were here to teach me more. You were one of a kind with a laugh as big as your heart. This is truly heartbreaking. Rest peacefully, superstar.”
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) September 23, 2022