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August 23, 2020

Chi Chi DeVayne Suffered from Scleroderma — Remembering the Late 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Star

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Drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne, best known as one of the contestants of "RuPaul's Drag Race," passed away after suffering from an incurable, rare disease affecting the skin and connective tissue.

Zavion Davenport, who went by the stage name of Chi Chi DeVayne, grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. Although she had been an entertainer for a long time, she only rose to prominence in 2016 after competing in "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 8.

DeVayne described the disease as "thick scar tissue" forming around her organs.

Chi Chi DeVayne on February 22, 2016 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images



Thanks to her appealing personality, quick wit, and amazing lip-sync skills, DeVayne made it through almost every week of the season, finishing in fourth place.

According to HuffPost, she was the "dark-horse" of the season as almost nobody expected to see her in the Top 5, especially after her first impression: she wore a dress made out of garbage bags for the first episode.


DeVayne excelled throughout the weeks, and she was eventually asked to participate in "RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars" Season 3 but was eliminated in the fourth episode.

In her "All-Stars" introductory video, DeVayne described herself as a "performing queen" who loved to get on stage and to be under pressure. She also admitted that being a "Ru's girl" was one of her goals.


However, before participating in the show, being a drag queen was only a side gig. During a July 2020 interview with "Hey Qween", DeVayne explained that she used to do drag shows just for fun every Saturday to make extra money, but it eventually became her life.

She also opened up about living with scleroderma. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a rare and incurable disease that causes the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues.



Depending on each individual, this illness might affect only the skin or other structures, including internal organs, blood vessels, and even the digestive tract.

Talking to "Hey Qween," DeVayne described the disease as "thick scar tissue" forming around her organs and joints. She also pointed out that she had been diagnosed only a few months before the interview was conducted and that she was not in the worst stages of it.


Chi Chi DeVayne explained that she noticed something was wrong when she couldn't make the dance moves that she used to do before. Then, DeVayne started losing weight quickly, so she knew she had to see a doctor, and that's when she got her diagnosis.

Unfortunately, the "RuPaul's Drag Race" star had to go to the hospital due to a suspected kidney failure shortly after talking to "Hey Qween."



During her stay in the hospital, DeVayne documented some of the procedures that she was undergoing, including her dialysis. Then on August 15, she uploaded a video asking her followers to keep her in their prayers and that she'd be back soon.

Sadly, Chi Chi DeVayne died on August 20, 2020. She was only 34 years old. The entertainer's family officially announced her death through DeVayne's Instagram account, revealing that her last words were, "never give up."


Shortly after her passing was announced, several people took to Twitter to share their condolences. One of them was, of course, RuPaul, who admitted to being heartbroken about the news but grateful for having the opportunity to experience her "kind and beautiful soul."

"Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi also tweeted about DeVayne's death. Apart from describing her as an incredible performer and a bright light in the drag community, Lakshmi pointed out that DeVayne was an inspiration for young people in the LGBTQ community.

At the moment, Chi Chi DeVayne's fans are waiting for her family to share more information on her memorial and final arrangements. Rest in peace, Queen.


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