Steve August 20, 2020

by Christopher Rudolph


The world has lost a queen.

Beloved RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Chi Chi DeVayne—real name Zavion Davenport—has passed away after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Last month, in a series of Instagram Stories, the Creole queen revealed she was rushed to the hospital for serious medical issues. She tested negative for COVID-19, but her doctors quickly realized she had high blood pressure.

“They think that I’m going through kidney failure,” she told her 474,000 followers on Instagram.

Later, DeVayne shared an update that her blood pressure had gone down, and she’d been scheduled for “three hours of dialysis” to hopefully restore her kidney function. She added that she’d waited “too long to go to the doctor” after receiving a diagnosis for scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that eventually targets the internal organs.

Chi Chi was discharged on July 24 after undergoing dialysis. She told her followers: “I’m gonna fight to survive of course but I’ve been fighting too mentally, because this is a new experience for me. But I got it under control. I’m OK, I’m gonna be OK.”

She was re-admitted to the hospital last week, revealing she had been diagnosed with pneumonia: “Currently battling pneumonia so I’ll be MIA for a few more days,” she wrote online.


Other Drag Race queens spoke out, asking fans to help Chi Chi with her medical costs. It was then announced on Thursday, August 20, that Chi Chi had passed away at the age of 34.

The Shreveport, Louisiana-based queen was a standout on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8, making it all the way to the top four before eventually being eliminated. She returned to the workroom for the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars in 2018. Chi Chi also appeared in an episode of Apple TV+’s Little America earlier this year.

“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,” RuPaul said in an official statement. “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.”

There was an outpouring of love and condolences on social media from Chi Chi’s Drag Race family and her fans, all expressing their grief over her death:

Omg what terrible news! My thoughts and prayers!!!! Such a beautiful positive person gone too soon! ❤️

— Trinity The Tuck (@TrinityTheTuck) 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

If you knew or ever met Chi Chi you know that her kindness & generosity were unmatched. A true angel. I love you Chi Chi & will forever be grateful to have known you. Rest In Power

— JOHNNY SIBILLY (@JohnnySibilly) August 20, 2020

Chi Chi was so kind to me. At a time I was really low. I’m just sat here in tears. R.I.P you beautiful angel.

— Baga Chipz (@ChipShopBird) August 20, 2020

Chi Chi was a flawless human being and nobody will ever tell me different.

— AJA (@ajaoxum) August 20, 2020

Rest In Peace now my beautiful sister #chichidevayne im heart broken.

— Roxxxy Andrews (@RoxxxyAndrews) August 20, 2020

❤️❤️❤️ an iconic queen literally everyone in our industry will always love.

— Trixie Mattel (@trixiemattel) August 20, 2020

I love you ❤️ Chichi

— Alexis Mateo (@AlexisMateo79) August 20, 2020

RIP ChiChi What a powerful soul, who’s light will continue to shine bright ✨

— Blu Hydrangea (@BluHydrangea_) August 20, 2020

RIP Chi Chi. What a sad week. X

— TheVivienne BLM (@THEVIVIENNEUK) August 20, 2020

We’re heartbroken to learn that Chi Chi DeVayne has passed away today. Her drag spread a message of love and kindness that truly touched each person she met.

Rest in power, Chi Chi.

— World of Wonder (@WorldOfWonder) August 20, 2020

Rest in peace, queen.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was “just the cutest thing ever.”


Read More