Antoine Ashley, better known as the drag queen Sahara Davenport from the Logo network’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, has died at age 27. Ashley competed on the second season of the popular show.
Ashley came to New York City from Dallas after earning a bachelor of fine arts degree at Southern Methodist University, according to People magazine. Outside of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ashley was a musical star on the rise with the single, “Go Off,” reaching number 50 on the Billboard dance charts. Sahara Davenport was also a frequent performer on the New York City drag queen circuit.
“Logo is profoundly saddened by the passing of Antoine Ashley who fans around the world knew and loved as Sahara Davenport,” the Logo network posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday. “He was an amazing artist and entertainer who’ll be deeply missed by his Logo family. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, especially his boyfriend Karl, in their time of need.”
Ashley’s boyfriend Karl Westerberg, a.k.a. Manila Luzon, was the runner-up on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and is also in the cast of RuPaul’s All Star Drag Race, which premieres Oct. 22. After the news of Ashley’s death, Westerberg simply tweeted:
I love him so much.—
Manila Luzon (@manilaluzon) October 01, 2012
Thousands of the show’s fans have tweeted their condolences and posted memories on the show’s Facebook page. Adding to the outpouring of emotions, the show’s doyenne RuPaul tweeted:
Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we'd ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal—
(@RuPaul) October 02, 2012
A cause of death has not been announced in the case.