Australian fans of Ru Paul’s Drag Race have woken to the tragic news that drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne had passed away overnight from ongoing health concerns. Chi Chi DeVayne, otherwise known as Zavion Davenport, rose to fame on season eight of the popular reality show, coming back to compete in 2018’s All Star Competition.
“Keep me in your prayers. I’ll be back soon,” DeVayne said in a video message shared Saturday morning, in which she was attached to a ventilator whilst lying in a hospital bed.
The news comes less than a week after DeVayne posted on Instagram that she was back in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. Earlier this year the 34-year-old had been hospitalised for possible kidney failure. In 2018, DeVayne was diagnosed with scleroderma, a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues.
Announcing her illness at the time, DeVayne said, “Lots of people don’t know this but I was recently diagnosed with scleroderma and 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… but I feel it’s finally time to let the world know what’s really going on with Chi Chi”
Speaking about the tragic news to Star Observer, Melbourne drag queen Leasa Mann had this to say about her fellow performer.
“Jemima Handful and I were lucky enough to work with Chi Chi when she came to Melbourne. She was heartfelt and warm. She genuinely wanted to know about the local girls and what made their scenes unique. She was very approachable.”
Since the shows inception, DeVayne is now the second contestant to have passed away, after season two contestant Sahara Davenport died of heart failure in 2012. She will be remembered as not only a killer performer and lip sync assassin, but as a kind, generous and loving spirit whose natural gift for performance inspired so many.