Chi Chi DeVayne has sadly passed away.
The legendary drag performer died on Thursday (20 August) at the age of 34 following a battle with pneumonia, according to friends and family who posted their condolences on social media.
Chi Chi – birth name Zavion Davenport – was best known for appearing on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she placed fourth, and the third season of All Stars, where she placed eighth.
Her loveable personality and high-energy performances, especially her now-iconic lip-sync to Jennifer Holliday’s And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, catapulted her to fan-favourite status.
The star, who hailed from Shreveport, Louisiana, was originally admitted to hospital in July with suspected kidney failure, saying she had trouble with her breathing and “high blood pressure”.
Chi Chi was discharged a few days later, but in a video posted to Instagram earlier this week, she revealed that her health had gotten worse.
“Hey guys, I’m back in,” she said in her Instagram story. “Keep me in your prayers, I’ll be back soon.”
Chi Chi told her followers that she was diagnosed with lung infection pneumonia, and that she would be “MIA for a few more days” while she “battled” the illness.
In 2018, she was diagnosed with scleroderma – a rare disease that hardens and tightens the skin and connective tissues.
Chi Chi previously wrote: “Lots of people don’t know but I was recently diagnosed with scleroderma 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.
“I feel it’s finally time to let the world know what’s really going on with Chi Chi… bottling this up has had me in a state of depression… 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.
“I just ask you all to keep me in your prayers as I battle with this life changing illness.”
Several stars from Drag Race paid their respects on social media, including her close friend Kennedy Davenport, who wrote: “So I guess it’s true… I am numb. I don’t know what to even do or say.
“My baby Zavion Michael Davenport you fought so hard I am proud of you. REST IN THE LORD HE GOT YOU NOW. Keep dancing with the stars my angel. I’m not ok.”
Alexis Mateo wrote: “Thank you for your love, your talents and your light. I’m honoured to call u my sister. My queen RIP.”
Bebe Zahara Benet said: “Chi Chi. My heart is breaking. You were such a light, a rare talent, a kind and generous spirit and a force of nature on the stage. Rest well, sister.”
In an statement, RuPaul said he was “heartbroken” to hear of Chi Chi’s death, and that he was “so grateful that we got to experience her kind and beautiful soul.”
He added: “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.”
Our thoughts are with Chi Chi’s loved ones during this time.