RuPaul's Drag Race star George Ward, best known as Cherry Valentine, has died aged 28, according to a statement from his family.
The reality star died on Sunday, with no cause of death released at this stage.
Ward, who also worked as a mental health nurse for the NHS, appeared on the second season of RuPaul Drag Race UK.
He then went on to appear in his own BBC documentary Gypsy Queen and Proud and worked in a Covid vaccination centre during the pandemic.
"It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away," the family's statement read.
"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.
"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.
"We love you Georgie. 30 November 1993 – 18 September 2022."
The BBC paid tribute with a statement from BBC Three controller Fiona Campbell saying, "We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of George, known to many as Cherry Valentine.
"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. Our deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time."
RuPaul's Drag Race stars pay tribute
Many Drag Race stars have since paid tribute to Ward, with A'Whora writing on Instagram, "I cannot even begin to process today's news. I have honestly never been so heartbroken and in a state of shock so much!
"I've lost not only a sister but someone who for the last seven months had become my best friend who I would call and text about everything and anything!
"We had so much planned and you had so much greatness ahead, and I know your legacy and talents will forever live on.
"I love you beyond words will ever understand! I will never stop being inspired by you and will continue to gift for your voice to be heard. I love you."
Ginny Lemon also shared a tribute, writing, "I'm crying so much and I’m also laughing at all the happy memories.
"So many happy happy memories, the 'tour time portal', the broken nail, and all those 'silly silly girls' and I'll never forget the 9am goodnight hug."
Ellie Diamond shared a snap of herself and Cherry, writing, "I am so sad to even begin thinking about posting this! Cherry brought so much life and laughs to whatever situation!
"Always someone who was caring and loving, her laugh lightened up a room like fireworks and will forever have a cherry red place in all our hearts! I love you my sister you will be missed!"
Tayce also shared, "Absolutely devastated & crying as I write this… I wanted to post a montage of pictures & videos but it's all too hard right now.
"I've never lost a friend before and it's a numbing feeling, but my thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to her family and absolute nearest & dearest.
"Cherry was a force, a touchstone, one of the sweetest, kindest and caring people I’ve ever met. She was a point of contact to anyone who needed help and inspired so many. Please look after each other, check in, and don't be afraid to ask for help ever. you never know what struggles people are going through. I love you George."
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