Antoine Ashley, better known to fans of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as Sahara Davenport, died of heart failure on Monday (Oct. 1) at the age of 27, according to a post Wednesday on his Facebook fan page.
His mother, Angela Ashley Reddish, says on behalf of his family, “I thank God for giving me an Angel Antoine Ashley to share with the rest of the world. My family and I would like to thank everyone for their condolences and support. We know that our Angel is now dancing in heaven.”
Ashley’s boyfriend of six years and fellow drag entertainer Karl Westerberg, who competed on Season 3 of “Drag Race” as Manila Luzon, adds, “Antoine lived to entertain the world as Sahara Davenport, and the world was in awe over his extreme talent. But his heart is what made us all fall in love with him. To me he will always be my best friend, my hero, my Diva, and I have always considered myself more than lucky to have him be forever a part of my life. Thank you, hon, for bringing so much beauty to all of us. Your legacy lives on in me and all of us you’ve touched.”
RuPaul tweeted condolences on Tuesday, writing, “Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we’d ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal.”
Logo will be running an all-day marathon of the show’s second season, in which Ashley competed, on Oct. 5 and will dedicate the first episode of “RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race” on Oct. 22 to his memory.