Less than a week ago, Chi Chi DeVayne, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, went into the hospital with pneumonia and in an Instagram Live video, asked her fans to pray for her. And in news that is ten tons of sad wrapped in eighty layers of sadness, Chi Chi died today in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana at the way, way, way too young age of 34.
A couple of years ago, Chi Chi said she was diagnosed with scleroderma, an incurable and chronic connective tissue disease that causes hardening of the skin and causes thick scar tissues to form around internal organs. The disease messed with her ever since. On July 17, Chi Chi was hospitalized for kidney failure that was related to scleroderma and she was treated with dialysis. Chi Chi left the hospital later on in the month, but went back in last week with pneumonia that was also related to scleroderma. World of Wonder, the production company behind RPDR, confirmed the horrible news.
Chi Chi DeVayne (born name: Zavion Davenport) was born in Shreveport, LA. She gave herself the drag name of Chi Chi after John Leguizamo’s character in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar. Chi Chi’s first sashay down the Drag Race runway happened in the eighth season. Chi Chi made it to the final four with Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, and Bob The Drag Queen (who won that season). Chi Chi returned to Drag Race a couple of years later when she competed in the third season of All-Stars, where she came in at eighth place.
Chi Chi DeVayne was the self-proclaimed “cheap queen,” and yes, she could turn out some glamour on a dime, but there was nothing cheap about her talent, brightly-lit personality, and the joy she brought, so of course her loss has been felt by many including RuPaul and the queens of her season and beyond:
"I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne.
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." –RuPaul (1/2) pic.twitter.com/iN3oT3R2dG
— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) August 20, 2020
I’m literally so devastated and sick to my stomach. Wake me up when it’s all over 💔
— Shea Couleé (@SheaCoulee) August 20, 2020
Im so num right now my heart is broken into peaces.. I couldnt even got see her. 😪😪 I love you always chichi. My dancing angel..
— Kennedy Davenport The Dancing Diva of Texas (@kennedyddoftx) August 20, 2020
❤️❤️❤️ an iconic queen literally everyone in our industry will always love. pic.twitter.com/UspJ3KzQaC
— Trixie Mattel (@trixiemattel) August 20, 2020
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. 🕊 pic.twitter.com/XRkxnjzisq
— BeBe Black Lives Matter Benet (@BeBeZaharaBenet) August 20, 2020
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Our hearts are heavy today at the loss of our sister @chichidevayneofficial . A truly loving soul who set fire to every stage she touched and a true sister through and through …. her magnetic energy will be missed and I’m grateful the world got to fall in love with this angel ! She is twirling up there with Sahara ! Fly high and rest in power
Rest in peace, Chi Chi DeVayne.
This Chi Chi DeVayne lip sync gives me chills everytime 🖤 pic.twitter.com/54JUtqWXZN
— J Λ M Ξ S (@jamesglynn) August 20, 2020