Chi Chi DeVayne, an accomplished entertainer who competed on two seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, died on Thursday following several days in the hospital.
She was 34 years old
Just under a week ago, DeVayne (whose birth name was Zavion Davenport) told Instagram followers that she was under the care of doctors, sharing a video that included a very simple message.
“Keep me in your prayers. I’ll be back soon,” DeVayne said in the footage, which she posted last Saturday morning and which featured her attached to medical equipment while lying down in a hospital bed.
In July, DeVayne was also hospitalized.
That instance, it was for high blood pressure and suspected kidney failure, as she informed fans at the time that she had catheters to her heart and kidneys surgically installed prior to undergoing dialysis treatment.
DeVayne was eventually discharged later that month.
At this time, her cause of death is unknown.
A week ago, however, fans began to flood the comments section of DeVayne’s Instagram, saying the star was “battling pneumonia right now.”
Again, though, we cannot confirm the exact nature or basis of her passing.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne,” RuPaul said in a statement provided to Entertainment Weekly, adding:
“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.”
In a tweet posted to the RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter account, the famous drag queen continued:
“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 rose to television prominence on season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she garnered fame and popularity due to her quick wit and personality… finishing the competition in fourth place.
She was later asked to return to compete on the third All-Stars spin-off in 2018.
In this case, the star was eliminated on the fourth episode.
DeVayne often credited the program with inspiring her to evolve her skills in an art form that served as a gateway for her to escape a difficult upbringing involving gangs, along with struggles with her sexuality.
“I was so stressed out and it got to a point where I was like, okay, I’m in the bottom every week. It might be time to go home and work a little bit more on my drag,” DeVayne told EW shortly after her All-Stars 3 exit.
“I’m a real person, and I just felt it was my time to go. There was no reason to be sad or bitter.”
Tweeted All Stars winner Shea Coulee upon learning the awful news:
“I’m literally so devastated and sick to my stomach. Wake me up when it’s all over.”
In addition to her appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race, DeVayne had a small part on season 1 of the Apple TV anthology dramedy Little America.
She also appeared on fellow Drag Race alum Yuhua Hamasaki’s Bootleg Opinions YouTube series.
And guested on an episode of the popular queer talk show Hey Qween, while also taking part in various performing gigs and tours as a drag artist.
May Chi Chi DeVayne rest in peace.