RuPaul’s Drag Race cast member Chi Chi DeVayne (Zavion Davenport), who rose to international acclaim in the series’ eighth season, died Thursday (Aug. 20) at age 34.
An official statement from the family, posted to DeVayne’s Instagram, reads: “It is with tremendous sorrow that my family and I announce the passing of my beloved son, Zavion Michael Davenport, the world renowned ‘Chi Chi DeVayne.’
The family added that DeVayne’s final words to friends and fans were “Never give up.”
Drag Race producer World of Wonder tweeted: “We’re 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. Rest in power, Chi Chi.”
From the official RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter account, host RuPaul Charles wrote: “I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne. 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.”
DeVayne first appeared on season eight of the series, and later on the third season of spin-off RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Former contestants of the show took to Twitter to share their condolences.
Fellow All Stars season three competitor and Drag Race season seven star Trixie Mattel wrote: “An iconic queen literally everyone in our industry will always love.”
Drag Race season ten winner Aquaria tweeted: “Chi Chi was truly one of the most supportive queens. 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.”
In 2018, DeVayne announced she was diagnosed with scleroderma on Instagram, writing: “I just ask you all to keep me in your prayers as I battle with this life changing [sic] illness.”
In July of this year, DeVayne posted on Instagram stories that she had been hospitalized for possible kidney failure. She was reportedly hospitalized again last week for pneumonia.
LGBTQ media monitoring organization GLAAD tweeted: “We’re devastated to hear the news about Chi Chi DeVayne, an incredible performer and such a bright light. Our hearts are with all of Chi Chi’s loved ones today.”