Popular drag queen dies aged 25 after collapsing onstage at Philadelphia gay bar

Tabu Lounge and Sports bar, located in the heart of the city’s Gayborhood, says it is in discussions with the 25-year-old’s family about holding an event in her honour

Rachel Sharp
Friday 16 September 2022 14:38 BST
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Orlando LGBT community tribute

A popular drag queen has died at the age of 25 after collapsing onstage during a performance at a Philadelphia gay bar.

Valencia Prime, a transgender woman who proudly dubbed herself as “Philadelphia’s Plus Size Dancing Diva”, died on Monday night while performing at Tabu Lounge and Sports bar in the city’s Gayborhood.

Bar owner Jeffrey Sotland told NBC News that she was in the middle of a drag performance when she suddenly collapsed.

No cause of death has been released.

Tabu paid tribute to its “very bright and rising star” in a heartfelt social media post on Wednesday.

“Today we mourn the loss of a very bright and rising star in the performance community and a person who was always full of love and positivity,” the venue said in a statement on Instagram.

“We say goodbye to Valencia Prime but we will not forget the light you brought to the stage.”

In a follow-up post, the venue said that it was in discussions with the 25-year-old’s family about hosting a show in her honour.

Tributes poured in from Philadelphia’s LGBT+ community for the well-loved star and a GoFundMe campaign has topped $11,000 to help her grieving family with funeral expenses.

On the fundraising page, friend and fellow performer Nikita Sinnn Monroe said that Ms Prime “passed away peacefully”.

“We would love for the community to help her mother and the rest of her family give her the proper memorial we know she deserves,” it reads.

Fellow performer Aloe Vera posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook, paying tribute to the “inspiring” 25-year-old who “will forever be my light”.

Valencia Prime died on Monday after collapsing mid-performance
Valencia Prime died on Monday after collapsing mid-performance (Valencia Prime Facebook)

“I’m trying. I’m trying to be strong and I’m trying to brave because you were the one the taught me how to be strong and brave,” the performer wrote.

“The pain I feel right now is something I wish on no one. You are and will forever be my light. I wish I knew how to keep going without you.

“I wish I knew how to be inspiring too others that are hurting right now… but a piece of my soul has been taken from me and I’m struggling to pick myself up off the ground without you. I love you with everything in my heart Valencia. Rest in power.”

Drag queen Brittany Lynn wrote in a Facebook post that Ms Prime would be “sorely missed” and told her to “keep twirling”:

“Valencia Prime you will be sorely missed. You were always up for a gig or messaging me afterwards saying ‘good job sir.’

“Out & About will always be dedicated to you and all that you did for everyone. Keep twirling ma’am.”

Ms Prime’s mother Christiana Marcus-McRae also shared the news of her child’s death in a Facebook post.

“25 yrs ago, April 2nd at 7:58pm, I gave birth to my 2nd child and today, I’m making funeral arrangements...” she wrote.

Ms Prime’s Facebook page was also flooded with tributes as friends and loved ones remembered her for her “big heart and an even bigger personality”.

According to her Facebook page, the 25-year-old was originally from Delran, New Jersey, and attended Delran High School in 2015.

She then attended Rowan College at Burlington County in New Jersey before studying children’s psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia.

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