The death of a Darlington drag queen and mental health nurse has been confirmed as a suicide, an inquest has heard.

28-year-old Cherry Valentine, who appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race in 2021, died in September last year after struggling to come to terms with his newfound fame. 

OK Magazine has reported that the inquest heard he had died by hanging on September 18, 2022. 

Cherry, whose given name is George Ward, was discovered by his flatmate and friend at his North London home, where he was declared dead at the scene by emergency services.

Read more: RuPaul's Drag Race performer George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, dies aged 28

Mr Ward had worked in Darlington, their hometown, as a mental health nurse after graduating from the University of Cumbria, but found fame following their debut on RuPaul's Drag Race in 2021. They also starred in the eponymous documentary Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud.

But friends and family told the inquest that Mr Ward, who used he/they pronouns outside of drag, had "struggled" with newfound fame.

A post-mortem report into Mr Ward's death noted: "The subject was a successful drag queen, and [his friend] believes he had been struggling with his rise to fame after being on RuPaul's Drag Race.

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"[The friends] would regularly chat about their struggles, but [the friend] believed that their extravagant behaviour was a mask." 

The report also outlined that Mr Ward had previously struggled with depression, according to his flatmate. 

The inquest heard that Mr Ward left three suicide notes, to his flatmate, his family, and to other unspecified people. 

In a statement, Mr Ward's family paid tribute to their son, saying: "As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same. We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. We love you, Georgie."

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