RuPaul's Drag Race Star Sahara Davenport Dead At 27

10/04/2012
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Producer Entertainment Group sent over the sad news that Antoine Ashley, also known as Sahara Davenport, from the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race passed away due to heart failure on October 1, 2012, at John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. He was twenty-seven years old.

Antoine's mother, Angela Ashley Reddish, spoke on behalf of the 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. May God bless each and everyone."

Boyfriend of six years and fellow drag entertainer Karl Westerberg (aka Manila Luzon) had this to say: "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."

Though best remembered for his work on Logo TV, Antoine did stints with MTV, CW, Bravo, Oxygen, Sony, A&E, and Voom HD.

"Logo is profoundly saddened by the passing of Antoine Ashley who fans around the world knew and loved as Sahara Davenport. He was an amazing artist and entertainer who'll be deeply missed by his Logo family. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, especially his boyfriend Karl, in their time of need."

The network has planned a tribute on October 5. "We'll be running an all-day marathon of Sahara's season along with Untucked, with her final episode airing at 10:00 p.m. EST on Friday. We'll be airing Sahara fan tweets all day long in conjunction with the marathon." -Jason Shumaker, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Logo/VH1-

Logo will also dedicate the first episode of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race to Sahara's memory on October 22. Please tune in.

RuPaul tweeted, "Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we'd ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal."

A private funeral service is being scheduled for October 12 or 13 at Snowden Funeral Home, 246 North Washington Street, Rockville, MD 20850.

A public memorial celebration, including tribute performances by Sahara's industry friends and entertainers is planned for Friday, November 2, at XL Nightclub in NYC.

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