Miss Candee, one of Melbourne’s iconic drag queens, who was known as the “Matriarch of Melbourne Drag and a Living Legend”, died on Saturday morning, aged 68.
Miss Candee aka Ron Walker was admitted to the ICU last month and underwent two life-threatening surgeries following an unknown infection in her lower back and spine. A GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to help Miss Candee with her medical and other expenses had raised around $30,000 in a matter of days.
“It’s with great sadness that we let you know that Miss Candee (Ron Walker) passed away just after 1.30am this morning. Candee was surrounded by her family and close friends. The DT’s crew have not only lost a star, but also a much loved family member and friend. We will all miss her very much,” the gay bar posted on Facebook.
Miss Candee, had a 48-year-long career in drag, after she started dragging at the age of 21. Over the years, Miss Candee worked at some of Melbourne’s favourite gay bars, including Inflation, The Xchange, 3 faces, The Cadillac Bar, The Market Hotel, Chasers, The Peel Hotel, The Greyhound and DT’s Hotel.
Community Pays Tribute To A Beloved Drag Icon
Rest In Peace Miss Candee
Heartbreaking news from Melbourne today. I grew up watching this Icon of Melbourne drag and she entertained us and made us laugh over the years. A sad day for the community. Sending love to family & friends, of which there are many.
A bloody legend ❤️ pic.twitter.com/esLnGVFUfW
— Dolly Diamond (@_DollyDiamond) July 15, 2022
Tributes flowed in for Miss Candee from fellow drag queens and her countless fans in Melbourne and across the world.
“Heartbreaking news from Melbourne today. I grew up watching this Icon of Melbourne drag and she entertained us and made us laugh over the years. A sad day for the community. Sending love to family & friends, of which there are many,” said London-based drag performer Dolly Diamond.
Melbourne has lost a legend with the passing of Miss Candee. By day a retail assistant at David Jones, by night she was queen of the drag scene. A true original.
Pic credit: @SergeThomann
— Nicholas Reece (@Nicholas_Reece) July 16, 2022
‘Miss Candee Always Had The Time To Chat’
Miss Candee was a Melbourne institution in her own right and for generations of young queer people she was a reassuring presence both on and off stage.
“Such sad news to wake up to. The first drag show I ever saw was Miss Candee and Barbara Quicksand. Candee never new the steps, missed half the words, and was hilarious. After, she’s be at the bar drinking a VB through a straw,” Melbourne-based medical anthropologist Dr Nathanael Wells posted on Twitter.
“I remember sneaking into gay bars at 17 and Miss Candee always had the time to chat – she’d plonk herself on the stool, sip a VB through a straw and provide laughs and advice to anyone who needed either. A true icon who will be fondly remembered by generations of queers,” recalled one Twitter user.
“At my first ever pride festival I saw Miss Candee literally rolling down a hill drunk off her face. Seeing that kind of care free living changed my life. Vale!,” posted another user.
Thank You for the laughs. Vale Miss Candee!