(CNN) -- George Ward, a star of the British version of RuPaul's Drag Race, has died at the age of 28, according to a statement issued by his family.Ward, who shot to fame on the BBC's RuPaul's Drag Race U.K.
under the stage name Cherry Valentine, died on September 18, his family said.In a statement released by his agent, the family said: "It is with the most heart wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George — Cherry Valentine — has tragically passed away."This will come as a profound shock to most people & we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced."As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same."The statement continued: "We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched.
All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie 30 November 1993-18 September 2022."Born in Darlington in the northeast of England, Ward was brought up in the traveler community, where he started doing drag as a child.He appeared in six episodes of the show, which is broadcast on BBC Three, in 2020-2021.
In his introductory video, he described his alter ego Cherry Valentine as "everything," saying: "She is glamor, she's club kid, she's dark, she's gothic."Before appearing on Drag Race, Ward worked as a mental health nurse.