Sahara Davenport Dies: Mother, Boyfriend Speaks Out

Sahara Davenport, born Antoine Ashley, died this Monday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, he was 27. The 20-something entertainer was a contestant on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and was heralded as one of the top drag queens in the business.

RuPaul responded to Sahara’s death on Twitter saying he was “shocked and heartbroken” over the news. “Never occurred to me that we’d ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal.”

Sahara Davenport was an impersonator/singer/dancer whose real name was Antoine Ashley was said to be one of the most prominent drag queens in the business. The performer released several singles in the last two years: “Pump With Me” and “Go Off” including one with boyfriend Karl Westerberg called  “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

Karl who’s also known as Manila Luzon tweeted the day before Davenport’s death, “I love him so much.” It was unclear if the tweet referenced Davenport. He added later after news of Davenport’s death spread,  “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.”

Davenport’s mother, Angela Ashley Reddish, spoke fondly of her son:  “I thank God for giving me an angel… 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.”

The cause of Davenport’s death has not been released, but Logo, the network behind RuPaul’s Drag Race, confirmed the news on its Facebook page on Tuesday with this statement.

“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.”

*Update: Davenport reportedly died of heart failure.

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