Sahara’s mother and boyfriend, as well as RuPaul, have spoken on the tragic loss of Sahara at the young age of 27 due to heart failure.
When news broke that RuPaul’s Drag Race season two finalist Sahara Davenport, also known as Antoine Ashley, died, there were few details surrounding the untimely death. However, in an official press release, it’s been revealed that Antoine died of heart failure on October 1 at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland at 27.
Antoine’s mother, Angela Ashley Reddish, spoke on behalf of her family, saying, “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.”
Karl Westerberg, who was Antoine’s boyfriend of six years and competed in season three of Drag Race as Manila Luzon, also issued a statement. “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 luck 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 shared his feelings on Twitter, saying, “Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we’d ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal.”
Logo has planned a tribute to Antoine, set for Friday, 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,” said Jason Shumaker, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Logo/VH1. The network will also dedicate the first episode of RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race to Antoine, airing October 22.
While a private funeral service is being scheduled for either October 12 or 13, a public memorial celebration is planned for Friday, November 2. The evening, which will include tribute performances by Sahara’s industry friends and entertainers will be held at XL Nightclub in NYC.
Our thoughts remain with Antoine’s family and friends.
— Billy Nilles
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