“RuPaul’s Drag Race” fans were devastated last week, when news broke that famous contestant Sahara Davenport, born Antione Ashley, had died suddenly of heart failure. But, no one felt the loss of Ashley more than his boyfriend of six years, Karl Westerberg, better known as fellow “Drag Race” star Manila Luzon. And, in an interview with People, Westerberg shared what he’ll miss most about Ashley.
“I’m left cherishing his memories and carrying out his legacy,” said Westerberg. “I was lucky enough to have time with him.”
But Westerber, understandably, admits that it’s been difficult dealing with Ashley’s death.
“I’m hanging in there, but it’s hard because I have to deal with more than just grieving someone so close,” he says. “I have to deal with telling everyone all the information. We’ve been together for such a long time, so it’s surreal because it just happened. At least I have a lot of support from friends and family, so that’s good.”
Westerberg, who will appear in the upcoming season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars,” says that he and Ashley met a local New York bar and credits Ashley with helping him to sharpen his craft in the world of drag.
“We just really hit it off,” he said. “And when we both found out we were drag queens, it was such an enlightening moment. I was starting a relationship with someone who shared a passion for something I did. It was a lot of fun.”
“Antoine and Sahara Davenport were really able to help me learn about drag,” Westerberg says. “We really fed off each other. Together, we just clicked. We were both part of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so we both got to go through this experience together.”
Ashley will be laid to rest with a private funeral in Rockville, Maryland on Oct. 12 or 13 and his industry friends will hold a public memorial on Nov. 2, at XL nightclub in New York City.
“We’re all going to die,” Westerberg said, “but [people] really want to pay a tribute to [Antoine] and the huge legacy he’s leaving behind. As a drag performer, he rose to the top. He was on television and people fell in love with him. He was an amazing dancer and performer, and he was able to showcase that to the world.”
He added, “A lot of people care about him and will remember him for all of that. This is a celebration of his life.”
Our condolences go to Westerberg and Ashley’s family. Sadly, Westerberg is not alone. Check out some other stars that lost their partners below. – nicholas robinson