One of the stars from the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has died. Antoine Ashley (also known as Sahara Davenport) passed away due to heart failure on October 1, 2012, at John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. He was 27 years old.
Ashley’s mother, Angela Ashley Reddish, released a statement overnight.
“I thank God for giving me an Angel Antoine Ashley to share with the rest of the world. My family and I would like to thank everyone for their condolences and support,” she said.
“We know that our Angel is now dancing in heaven. May God bless each and everyone.”
Rumours of Ashley’s death began circulating on Twitter on Tuesday when fellow Drag Race contestants began posting their condolences.
Ashley’s boyfriend of six years and Drag Race season three star Karl Westerberg (aka Manila Luzon) said her partner was a star performer.
“Antoine lived to entertain the world as Sahara Davenport, and the world was in awe over his extreme talent,” he said.
“But his heart is what made us all fall in love with him. To me he will always be my best friend, my hero, my Diva, and I have always considered myself more than lucky to have him be forever a part of my life.
“Thank you, hon, for bringing so much beauty to all of us. Your legacy lives on in me and all of us you’ve touched.”
Ashley learned drag on the Dallas nightclub circuit before moving to New York City where he began modeling, commercial acting, and professional dancing. He soon launched his successful drag career in the NYC nightlife scene.
Logo, which airs Ru Paul’s Drag Race in the US, will dedicate the first episode of RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race to Sahara Davenport’s memory on October 22.
“Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we’d ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal,” RuPaul tweeted yesterday.