Antoine Ashley, better known as Sahara Davenport of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” has died.
The cause of death was not reported.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page earlier on Oct. 2, Logo network said, “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.”
Karl Westerberg, on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, said, “I love him so much.”
RuPaul tweeted, “Shocked & heartbroken over @SaharaDavenport. Never occurred to me that we'd ever lose one of my girls. I see them as immortal.”
People magazine reports that Ashley, in addition to competing with 11 others for the America’s Next Drag Superstar title on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in 2010, appeared in “One Life to Live,” “15 Films About Madonna” and “Magnificent Obsessions.”
Ashley was a classically trained dancer who started performing drag while a student at SMU in Dallas. After graduating from the university with a degree in fine arts, Ashley went to work in clubs in New York City.
This year, Ashley’s single “Go Off” charted on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs.
Rich Ferraro of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said, “In addition to being a talented performer, we also remember the great work of Antoine Ashley, known to many fans as Sahara Davenport, in support of LGBT youth organizations and GLAAD. This is a saddening loss and our thoughts are with Sahara's friends, partner and family.”
Media reports have given different ages for Ashley – 27, 28, 29 and 32.