Drag performer George Ward, who competed in BBC reality competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” under the name Cherry Valentine, has died at age 28.

“It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George — Cherry Valentine — has tragically passed away,” Ward’s family wrote in a statement released by his agent, as reported by People.

“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,” the statement continued.

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“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,” the statement added, concluding, “We love you Georgie 30 November 1993-18 September 2022.”

As People noted, an official cause of death was not revealed.

The BBC also shared a statement on Ward’s passing. “We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine,” the broadcaster’s statement read.

“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,” the statement continued. “Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

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Ward competed in the 2020 season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK”, and discussed his job as a mental health nurse.

“I am not just a drag queen. I qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015,” he said on the show.

“I think it put me in the right position to understand people a bit more, and if you’re a drag queen you’re working with people and don’t understand people, I think you go the extra mile,” Ward added.

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