Tributes have been paid to “kind and beautiful soul” Chi Chi DeVayne after the drag queen’s death at the age of 34.
DeVayne, whose real name was Zavion Davenport, appeared in the eighth series of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the third series of spin-off RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
She was diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease, in 2018 and was reportedly admitted to hospital in the last month with pneumonia.
DeVayne recently shared a video on her Instagram Story from her hospital bed.
A statement from DeVayne’s family posted on her Instagram account said: “It is with tremendous sorrow that my family and I announce the passing of my beloved son, Zavion Michael Davenport, the world renowned Chi Chi DeVayne.”
It added: “His final words to his family and fans, ‘Never give up!’”
Drag queen Baga Chipz, who appeared in the inaugural series of the UK version of Drag Race, said the news was “absolutely devastating”.
She added: “Chi Chi was so kind to me. At a time I was really low. I’m just sat here in tears. R.I.P you beautiful angel.”
Fellow UK contestant Blu Hydrangea added: “RIP ChiChi. What a powerful soul, who’s light will continue to shine bright.”
Aquaria, who won the 10th series of RuPaul’s Drag Race, asked fans to keep DeVayne in their thoughts.
She said: “Chi Chi was truly one of the most supportive queens.
“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.”
Shea Coulee, who won the most recent series of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, said: “I’m literally so devastated and sick to my stomach. Wake me up when it’s all over.”
Scarlett BoBo, who appeared in Canada’s Drag Race series one, said: “I am incredibly shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of Chi Chi Devayne.
“What a ray of light and beautiful soul we just lost. Rest in so much power beautiful. You will be missed forever.”
GLAAD, a US media organisation for LGBT people, also paid tribute.
A message said: “We’re devastated to hear the news about Chi Chi DeVayne, an incredible performer and such a bright light. Our hearts are with all of Chi Chi’s loved ones today.”
The official Twitter account of RuPaul’s Drag Race initially announced the news and shared a tribute from lead judge RuPaul.
It said: “I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne.
“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.”