(KRON) — Longtime San Francisco drag performer Heklina has reportedly died in London, according to a social media post from fellow SF drag mainstay, Peaches Christ (aka Joshua Grannell). Heklina and Grannell were apparently in London together starring in “Mommie Queerest,” which is a described as a “Wild drag parody” of the 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,” wrote Grannell, posting from the Peaches Christ Facebook page. “I do not know her cause of death yet. I know this is shocking news and I am beyond stunned.”
“Heklina is not just my best friend, but a beloved icon of our community,” Grannell wrote. “I am a mess.”
Heklina, a mainstay in the local drag community, was a frequent guest on KRON4’s “Live In the Bay,” and appeared on the show in January to discuss her recent show, “But I Don’t Judge.” Other shows Heklina recently starred in locally include “Drag me to the St. Francis” and “The Golden Girls Live.“
A social media post from the London theater where “Mommie Queerest” was playing confirmed the passing of Heklina, whose real name was Stefan Grygelko.
Following reports of Heklina’s passing tributes began to pour in.
“So shocking and sad to hear about the loss of Heklinka, a drag legend, brilliant performer and trailblazing community icon,” tweeted SF Supervisor Matt Haney. “My condolences and love goes out to all of Heklinka’s friends, family, and loved ones, and the entire LGBTQ and drag communities.”
“Heklina was one my first and favorite interviews on ‘Live in the Bay,'” recalled KRON4’s Kyla Grogan. “She came into the studio full of good energy and ready to have fun and I really enjoyed hanging out with her and playing on the set. I got to see her Christmas show and had the best time laughing and singing along. The Bay Area and the world has lost a wonderful performer and a very good soul. My deepest condolences go out to her many fans and friends worldwide.”
“We are shocked and devastated to learn of the passing of Heklina today,” read a tweet from Oasis, the club Heklina co-owned.
“We are heartbroken and saddened to hear of the passing of San Francisco drag legend Heklina,” the SF Gay Men’s Chorus tweeted. “From her activism, to her role in keeping SF nightlife alive, to her contributions to Drag as a whole, it is impossible to overstate the impact she has had on the queer community.”
“Absolutely devastated. Heklina and I have been friends and worked together for more than 20 years,” tweeted drag performer Sista Roma of long-running drag advocacy group, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “She is one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. This is a nightmare.”
“I first saw Heklina perform at the Stud as a young gay guy in the 1990s,” tweeted State Sen. Scott Wiener. “I then had the honor of working with her to identify a space for Oasis. Her imprint on San Francisco was deep.”