News of the 34-year-old drag queen’s death broke on Thursday, August 20, and was confirmed by host RuPaul in a statement to Us Weekly.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne,” the Emmy winner, 59, said on Thursday. “I am so grateful that we got to experience her kind and beautiful soul. She will be dearly missed but never forgotten. May her generous and loving spirit shine down on us all. On behalf of VH1, World of Wonder and the cast and crew of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I extend my deepest sympathy — from our family to hers.”
DeVayne (real name Zavion Davenport) came in fourth place on season 8 of the popular reality competition series, which aired in 2016, and later returned for the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars in 2018. According to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for her before her death, the Louisiana native was “rushed to the hospital” in July after suffering possible kidney failure. She was back in the hospital the next month with a severe case of pneumonia. DeVayne also battled scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease that typically requires medication, physical therapy or surgery.
Shortly after word of DeVayne’s untimely passing made the rounds on social media, other members of the RuPaul’s Drag Race community shared their fondest memories of the late reality star.
“Chi Chi was truly one of the most supportive queens,” season 10 winner Aquaria tweeted on Thursday alongside a selfie with DeVayne. “Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts, and try to work towards being the symbol of kindness that she exemplified for so many. We all love you and will miss you.”
Two days after announcing the need for a break from social media, recent All Stars winner Shea Couleé tweeted in shock, “I’m literally so devastated and sick to my stomach. Wake me up when it’s all over.”
Scroll down to see how other Drag Race stars reacted to DeVayne’s death.