20 August 2020 22:37
After weeks in the hospital, RuPaul's Drag Race alum Chi Chi DeVayne has died. Fellow alum Trinity K. Bonet announced the news on Instagram today. DeVayne, who competed on season 8 of the show, had been in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. In a recent Instagram Story post, while hooked up to a breathing tube she had asked fans for prayer.
In July, prior to her stay for pneumonia, the 34-year-old had been hospitalized for possible kidney failure. DeVayne was diagnosed with scleroderma, a condition that attacks various internal organs in 2018. Fans and other alum of the show had been raising money and circulating the performer's CashApp and Venmo accounts to help finance her care after July's hospital stay. Priyanka, a contestant on the debut season of Canada's Drag Race just announced raising $900 for that effort and Shea Coulee had been selling a print of one of her All Stars season 5 looks to benefit the performer as well. DeVayne made an impression on Drag Race audiences primarily as a lip-sync assassin, notably besting Thorgy Thor to Jennifer Holiday's "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." The performance has gone down as one of the best in Drag Race herstory and DeVayne made it to the Top 4 of that season — she revealed herself as not only a dancer but a witty comedian as well.
She later returned for RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars season 3. Though he has personally left social media, RuPaul released a statement on the news through the RuPaul's Drag Race Twitter account. "I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne," he wrote. "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," he continued. In addition to being a star performer, DeVayne was known as a gentle and loving soul to all that met her. Watch DeVayne's season of Drag Race on CBS All Access now. RELATED | 'Drag Race' Season 12 Is the Most-Watched In Herstory Chi Chi DeVayne, a drag queen who competed on two seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, has died, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed. She was 34 years old. DeVayne, born Zavion Davenport, had been hospitalized in July for high blood pressure and suspected kidney failure, alerting fans to her health condition via social media. She shared videos of herself back in the hospital in August. "Keep me in your prayers," she said in one post shared to her Instagram account. DeVayne, a Shreveport, Louisiana, native with a lush Southern accent, was a memorable Drag Race competitor, making her debut on the competition series during season eight in 2016. DeVayne was a gifted dancer and lip-syncher who proved to be a canny competitor, known for crafting gowns out of trash bags. The self-appointed bayou queen eventually finished out the season in fourth place, becoming a fan favorite along the way. "Nobody expected me to actually be or get as far as I did—not even me," she told the Huffington Post after her elimination. "But I look at it as a game." "I want the legacy of Chi Chi DeVayne to be a damn good performer that came from nowhere and took the world by storm," she continued. She returned to the franchise in the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars and made it up to the fourth episode, competing alongside fan favorites like Trixie Mattel and Shangela. DeVayne was vocal about her health struggles over the last few years. In 2018, she wrote to fans on Instagram that she had been diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. "I have been dealing with this over the past eight or nine months but was afraid to expose it to the public in fear of losing out on jobs and facing criticism from friends and fans," she said, writing candidly about how difficult it had been to deal with the disease. "It has made me hate my appearance.. and also made me stray away from the public eye but I'm no longer hiding and living in a state of fear." In the last few months, she continued updating followers about her hospitalizations, most recently sharing a video of herself in the hospital just days ago after coming down with pneumonia. Her death has been mourned by numerous Drag Race colleagues, like Ongina, Darienne Lake, and Roxxxy Andrews. "I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne," RuPaul said in a statement. "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." More Great Stories From Vanity Fair — Exposing the Fall of CBS Showrunner Peter Lenkov — How Sarah Cooper Trumped Donald Trump—Without Saying a Word — An Exclusive First Look at the TV Drama That Will Enrage Trump — Netflix's Indian Matchmaking Only Scratches the Surface of a Big Problem — How Olivia de Havilland Learned Hattie McDaniel Defeated Her at the 1940 Oscars — See Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson's Ode to an Iconic Villain: Nurse Ratched — From the Archive: Inside Olivia de Havilland's Notorious Lifelong Feud With Sister Joan Fontaine Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hollywood newsletter and never miss a story.