George Ward, a performer who starred on the BBC programme RuPaul on Drag Race UK as Cherry Valentine, died. He was 28.
In a statement released by her agent on Friday, Ward’s family wrote, “It is with great sadness and heartbreak to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.”
“This will be a great shock to most people and we understand that there is no easy way to announce this. As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same,” the statement continued.
The family added, “We realize how much we love him and how many lives he inspired and touched. Ward’s official cause of death has not been released.
Don’t miss a story – sign up Free weekly newsletter PEOPLE to deliver the biggest news of the week to your inbox every Friday.
The BBC also expressed their condolences in an official statement. “We are all shocked and heartbroken to hear the news of the death of George, who was known to many as Cherry Valentine,” the organization wrote.
“A fan favorite and inspiration to so many, we were privileged to work with him at BBC Three. He will be greatly missed by his many fans and friends,” the BBC continued. “Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”
RELATED: Famous People Who Died in 2022
Ward, who was born in Darlington in the north east of England in what he described RuPaul on Drag Race UK as a “gypsy camp,” appearing in six episodes of the show’s second season in 2020, where he introduced Cherry Valentine to fans.
“For those of you who said I’m not doing drag long enough, look. I’m doing it as long as I need to. Cherry Valentine, she’s everything. She’s glamorous, she’s dark, she’s Gothic. ,” the star said during an appearance on the show.
Ward also noted that he qualified as a mental health nurse, explaining, “I’m not just a drag queen. I qualified as a mental health nurse in 2015.”
“I think it put me in the right position to understand people a little bit more, and if you’re a drag queen you’re working with people and people don’t understand, I think you go the extra mile,” Ward said.
The TV star also expressed gratitude for being a part of the reality show, saying, “I never thought I’d be doing this. … To be sitting here right now, I think I’m really proud . The world is now. my stage, and I’m going to use it. That’s exciting, it gives me shivers.”