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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star Sahara Davenport dies at age 27

By Ken Williams| San Diego Gay and Lesbian News
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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Editor’s note: Since this story was published, SDGLN has learned the cause of death of Sahara Davenport, aka Antoine Ashley. David Charpentier, manager for the drag star, said Davenport died of heart failure at a hospital in Baltimore.

LOS ANGELES – Sahara Davenport, who made a name for herself on the second season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and who recently released a single “Go Off,” has died. She was 27.

Davenport’s birth name is Antoine Ashley.

RuPaul confirmed Davenport’s death earlier today with this tweet: “Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we’d ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal.”

Michelle Visage, a judge on the show, tweeted late last night that she was “PRAYING IT’S A RUMOR.” But minutes later, she tweeted “God PLEASE NOOOO” and then “It’s true and I have no words. Have to sign off for now kids, can’t handle this. XOXO.”


Jujubee, another contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” tweeted: “A beautiful angel has been added to Heaven. Rest in peace my sweet friend. We will miss you, Sarah Davenport.”

Morgan McMichaels tweeted, “RIP to my sister Sahara Davenport, a true entertainer, who class, wisdom and laugh changed my life forever !!”

Latrice Royale wrote: “My thoughts and Prayers are going out to the family and Loved ones of Sahara Davenport!! She was my sister in the name of Love!! You will be missed baby!!”

Nina Flowers wrote on Facebook, ” Love and respect to you sister, you will never be forgotten.”

Last season’s “Drag Race” champ Sharon Needles wrote: “A sad day…. I am so blessed to have had dinner (two bottles of wine) with Manila Luzon last week… I love you lady… I cannot sleep….my heart goes out to all my Drag race family… mostly though, to my beautiful sister Manila”

San Diego drag legend Chad Michaels, who competed last year: “@SaharaDavenport too young gone, leaving a beautiful legacy. Rally round @manilaluzon, she carries on.”

Tributes and condolences poured in at the Facebook page for her partner, Manila Luzon, who was the first runner-up in the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The last thing posted by Luzon is: “I love him so much.”

Davenport’s Facebook page was also brimming with messages from fans and friends.

Justin Nichols wrote: “Such an inspiration to the gay community. What a wonderful person, who was very talented and humble. She loved her fans. Rest In Peace Sahara Davenport! You will be missed greatly. Love and prayers to family and friends.”

Logo TV also confirmed the death on its Facebook page:

“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 cause is death is unknown.

People magazine reported that Davenport was a classically trained dancer who started performing in drag while attending Southern Methodist University in Texas. After graduation, she left Dallas for New York, where she performed in clubs and bars. She landed roles in “15 Films About Madonna,” “Magnificent Obsessions” and “One Life To Live.”

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