- The Magazine
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Chi Chi DeVayne has died aged 34.
DeVayne, real name Zavion Davenport, died on Thursday, Aug. 20, after being hospitalized due to pneumonia, DeVayne’s family announced.
The self-proclaimed “bayou queen” from Louisiana appeared on season 8 of Drag Race, where she placed fourth, as well as the third season of All Stars, where she placed eighth.
DeVayne was hospitalized with pneumonia last week, her second hospitalization this year after she was treated for suspected kidney failure in July. In late 2018, she was diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that attacks the organs.
In a video message posted to her social media last week, DeVayne had urged her fans to “keep me in your prayers, I’ll be back soon.”
DeVayne’s family released a statement noting their “tremendous sorrow” at her passing and asking people to wait for “additional information and directives regarding the final arrangements, memorials, and the method to remit condolences and expressions of kindness.”
They also said that DeVayne’s final words to family and friends were “never give up.”
Tributes quickly poured in from the drag community. World of Wonder, which produces Drag Race, said they were “heartbroken to learn that Chi Chi DeVayne has passed away today.”
“Her drag spread a message of love and kindness that truly touched each person she met,” World of Wonder said. “Rest in power, Chi Chi.”
RuPaul issued a statement calling DeVayne a kind and beautiful soul.”
“She will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. May her generous and loving spirit shine down on us all,” RuPaul said. “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.”
All Stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel called DeVayne an “iconic queen literally everyone in our industry will always love.”
All Stars 5 winner Shea Couleé tweeted: “I’m literally so devastated and sick to my stomach. Wake me up when it’s all over.”
“Chi Chi was truly one of the most supportive queens,” Aquaria, winner of Drag Race season 10, tweeted. “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.”
A number of other drag race alumni tweeted their thoughts and praise for DeVayne, who was known for her energetic performances, high kicks, and flips — as well as a stunning performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” during a season 8 lipsync against Thorgy Thor.
So deeply sad about the loss of Chi Chi DeVayne. She was an incredible performer, so down to earth and a bright light in the drag community.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) August 20, 2020
— Heidi N Closet (@HeidiNCloset) August 20, 2020
— Bianca Del Rio (@TheBiancaDelRio) August 20, 2020
Today we mourn the death, and celebrate the sweet soul that is Chi Chi Devayne. Rest in power. Take care of yourselves and each other. pic.twitter.com/Pmgg4MQ0q7
— Darienne Lake (@dariennelake) August 20, 2020
And when we say FLAWLESS pic.twitter.com/CVZv15YV0O
— ♡ (@_KimiLive) August 20, 2020
Rest In Peace now my beautiful sister #chichidevayne im heart broken.
— Roxxxy Andrews (@RoxxxyAndrews) August 20, 2020
Rest in Power Angel! Seriously one of the nicest people I've ever met. 💔
Zavion Davenport Chi Chi DeVayne we will miss you! pic.twitter.com/Hicbi7rBsA
— Ongina (@ongina) August 20, 2020
Chi Chi Devayne was such a light during her season and beyond. She always showed how being humble, honest and your true authentic self will get you far! She was a TRUE STAR and her legacy will live on forever #RIPChiChiDevayne 🌹 pic.twitter.com/Q0VGgyCngr
— Cheryl Hole (@CherylHoleQueen) August 20, 2020
Watch some of DeVayne’s season 8 highlights below:
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