Iconic drag queen Heklina has tragically died.
The San Francisco-based queen, whose real name was Stefan Grygelko, was a prominent fixture in the drag scene and was well known for her pioneering work in the community.
The 54-year-old was in the UK to perform in the musical parody Mommie Queerest alongside Peaches Christ in both London and Manchester.
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Heklina was reportedly found dead on Monday morning by Christ.
Christ confirmed the devastating news of Heklina’s death on Facebook, saying she was ‘shocked and horrified’ to bring the news to fans.
wrote: “I am shocked and horrified to bring this news to you. I am living in a real-life nightmare so forgive me if I don’t have all the answers just now.
“This morning, in London, England I went to collect my dear friend Heklina, who is costarring with me in a Mommie Queerest show here, and found her dead.”
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She continued: “I know this is shocking news and I am beyond stunned, but I wanted to let folks know what has happened.
“Heklina is not just my best friend, but a beloved icon of our community. I am a mess.
“Given this crisis, please do not try to contact me as I am utterly heartbroken, stunned, and focusing on what needs to get done next. I shall be in touch.”
Christ added that she did not know the cause of death at the time of posting.
Iconic drag queen Heklina has tragically died. Credit: @heklina/Instagram
Heklina’s death has been mourned by the drag community and beyond, with many paying tribute to her legacy.
World of Wonder, the company that produces
Ru Paul’s Drag Race, said they were ‘heartbroken’ over Heklina’s passing.
They went on to describe the drag queen as a ‘beloved and iconic pioneer in our community and a legend of the San Francisco drag scene’.
The Soho Theatre in London and HOME in Manchester released a joint statement, saying they were ‘in shock and incredibly saddened’ by the news.
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They added: “Our thoughts are with Peaches, Mommie Queerest company, Heklina’s family, friends, and their wider community.”
Drag star Trixie Mattel wrote on
Twitter: “Icon! Heklina was punk rock and made drag what it is today. Legend.”
Heklina was born in Minneapolis and moved to San Francisco after living in Iceland for a period, deriving her drag name from Hekla, a volcano in Iceland.
The Metropolitan Police are yet to confirm details of Heklina’s death.