Metro Weekly

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star Chi Chi DeVayne dies at 34: Fellow queens pay tribute

DeVayne was praised as a kind, supportive, and iconic performer

Chi Chi DeVayne, dead, drag race, drag queen
Chi Chi DeVayne — Photo: World of Wonder

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.

Watch some of DeVayne’s season 8 highlights below:

Read more:

Randy Rainbow’s transphobic, racist tweets resurface

WATCH: MLB commentator suspended after using antigay slur during broadcast

Two Florida politicians involved in anti-gay controversies lose primaries

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!