Chi Chi DeVayne, the high-spirited drag performer whose cleverness and positivity landed her spots on season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the highly competitive spin-off All Stars 3, has died. The news was confirmed by a number of close friends, including fellow alum Ongina, who tweeted a tribute, “Rest in Power Angel! Seriously one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” DeVayne’s death comes days after he entered the hospital with pneumonia and suspected renal failure. He was 34 years old.
DeVayne, whose real name was Zavion Davenport, proudly represented Shreveport, Louisiana while diligently competing for the Drag Race crown. Originally considered an underdog, DeVayne quickly flexed his resourcefulness and wit when he entered the work room in a dress made from trash bag, speaking French. His creativity and resilience set him apart from the rest of the contestants and carried him all the way to fourth place, leaving a lasting impact that rendered him a legend in his own right. DeVayne was asked to compete in All-Stars 3, where he continued his impassioned quest for title of Drag Race Superstar before getting eliminated in the fourth episode. After his Drag Race run, he continued to perform and tour alongside his fellow former competitors. He would also occasionally appear in offshoots of the popular franchise, like the show’s corresponding podcast, What’s the Tee with Michelle Visage.
In 2018, DeVayne was diagnosed with scleroderma. He was rushed to the hospital on July 17 and then underwent dialysis treatment. On Saturday, DeVayne reentered the hospital, where he filmed a quick video message for his followers, asking for prayers. “Keep me in your prayers. I’ll be back soon,” he assured from his bed. Drag Race’s producer World Of Wonder led a call for donations in order to assist with his mounting medical bills.
Upon hearing the news, RuPaul released a statement expressing his condolences: “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. 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.” DeVayne not only brought cheer and an unstoppable spirit to Drag Race, he illuminated every stage with the kind of charisma and talent that made him a star.