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San Francisco drag artist Heklina dies

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By Cynthia Laird | Stefan Grygelko, better known as his drag persona Heklina, has died, his longtime friend Joshua Grannell (Peaches Christ) wrote on Facebook April 3.

The two were in London where they were appearing in the “Mommie Queerest” show there, Grannell wrote, adding that he had gone to pick up Heklina that day. “I do not know the cause of death yet,” Grannell wrote. “I know this is shocking news and I am beyond stunned, but I wanted to let folks know what has happened.

Heklina is not just my best friend, but a beloved icon of our community.” The news shocked and saddened his friends back in San Francisco, with fellow drag queen Sister Roma writing on their Twitter account that she was “absolutely devastated” to learn of the passing of his friend and collaborator for two-plus decades. “She is one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.

This is a nightmare,” wrote Roma, a member of the drag philanthropy group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, in a tweet. Oasis, the LGBTQ nightclub in which Heklina was once a part-owner, expressed its sadness and said it would open at 4 p.m.

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