George Ward, drag artist who performed as Cherry Valentine, dies aged 28

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Drag queen George Ward, best known by his stage name Cherry Valentine, has died at the age of 28.

The artist, who appeared in the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UKpassed away on Sunday (September 18), his family announced.

On Friday (September 23), a statement from his family was released saying: “It is with the most heartbreaking and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has passed away tragically.

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“This will come as a big shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way to publicize this.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he loves him 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.”

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Ward grew up in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveler community and qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015 before starting his career in drag.

Cherry Valentine in June 2022 (Steven Paston/PA)

(PA wire)

In December 2020, Ward was announced as one of 12 contestants taking part in the second series of the UK version of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

In his introductory video for the show, he described his Cherry Valentine alter-ego as “glamorous,” “dark,” and “gothic.”

He said his work as a nurse had “put me in the right position to understand people a little more.

“When you’re a drag queen, you work with people. And to understand people, I think you go a step further.”

After appearing on the show, Ward teamed up with the TBEN to create a documentary exploring his Traveler heritage entitled Gypsy Queen and Proud.

He has also performed publicly and appeared in music videos by artists such as Charli XCX.

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