Chi Chi DeVayne, known for her appearances in “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” has died after a battle with pneumonia. She was 34.
DeVayne — the drag persona for Zavion Davenport — was hospitalized last week with pneumonia. She was also admitted in July for suspected kidney failure. DeVayne lived with scleroderma, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks organs, blood vessels and tissues.
On Aug. 15, DeVayne took to Instagram to tell fans that she was back in the hospital, asked everyone to pray for her and said, “I’ll be back soon.”
RuPaul, the television personality for which “Drag Race” is named, said the star will be remembered for her loving personality.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne,” he said. “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.”
Friends and co-stars have been posting messages of condolence and support on social media. Drag queen Trixie Mattel posted a picture with DeVayne, adding three hearts and the caption, “an iconic queen literally everyone in our industry will always love.”
DeVayne was born in Shreveport, La. She said it was clear that she was meant to be a star, even from a young age.
“I was always a little performer,” she once said on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” “My uncle used to stage talent shows with all us cousins, and my mom saw something in me. She had me in gymnastics, and I was in a dance company in my 20s.”
During DeVayne’s time competing on the eighth season of the show, she earned widespread support for her performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and finished the competition in fourth place. Jennifer Holliday made her an official Dreamgirl on the final episode. The star’s Season 8 entrance made a splash as well as her first dress was made from a trash bag.
She made an appearance this year on Apple TV Plus’ “Little America,” a series dedicated to telling the stories of American immigrants. Her feature on Randy Boo’s song “GFY” also debuted this year and is available on Spotify.
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