According to social media reports, famed San Francisco drag queen Heklina was found dead in London on Monday where she was performing in a touring show.
Heklina was found by Peaches Christ, a friend and fellow drag performer who was in London for a run of "Mommie Queerest," a musical parody of the classic 1981 film Mommie Dearest.
"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. I do not know the cause of death yet," the performer wrote. "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."
Heklina, was born Stefan Grygelko in Minneapolis and lived in Iceland before moving to San Francisco. The drag name “Heklina” is inspired by the Icelandic volcano Hekla.
She gained recognition in the city as the co-founder of the weekly drag party “Tr*nnyshack” in 1996, which later became “Mother.” The series has hosted performers such as Lady Gaga and Charro, and served as an inspiration for a generation of drag performers.
In 2015, Heklina co-founded the drag and cabaret venue Oasis, which mourned the performer’s death on social media.
Since news of her death broke, there have been no further details regarding the drag artist’s cause of death.
In a Twitter thread, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner and “All Stars 7” star Jinkx Monsoon praised Heklina for helping her catapult her career, in a lengthy Twitter thread
“You gave me one of my first … chances to shine, early in my career — and it snowballed into everything else. If you hadn’t taken a chance on me back then, who knows where I’d be now.”
You gave me one of my first… chances to shine, early in my career— and it snowballed into everything else. If you hadn’t taken a chance on me back then, who knows where I’d be now.— Jinkx Monsoon (@JinkxMonsoon) April 4, 2023
Fellow Drag Race alum and singer Trixie Mattel called Heklina as a legend and an icon in the drag community in a twitter post.Drag Society is gearing up for an all-new box! Subscribe today and don't miss out on exclusive merch from your fave drag queens!