San Francisco drag queen Heklina found dead in London
April 4, 2023 | 3:03 pm
Heklina, an iconic San Francisco drag queen born Stefan Grygelko, was found dead in London on Monday, according to a friend who made the grim discovery.
Heklina was 54 years old.
Peaches Christ said she was “shocked and horrified” to discover Heklina dead before a performance of their show “Mommie Queerest”.
“I’m living a real life nightmare so forgive me if I don’t have all the answers just now,” Peaches Christ wrote on Monday.
According to the veteran drag queen, also known as Joshua Grannell, earlier that morning she went to pick up Heklina, an old friend and actress, in London and “found her dead”.
“I don’t know the cause of death yet,” added Peaches Christ. “I know this is shocking news and I’m beyond shocked, but I wanted to let people know what happened.
Drag queen Heklina – born Stefan Grygelko – was found dead by a friend on Monday morning in London. Getty Images
Heklina and Peaches Christ were starring together in “Mommy Queerest”, a parody based on the 1981 drama “Mommie Dearest”.
Officials at The SoHo Theater in London, where the show was scheduled to run for two weeks, confirmed Heklina’s death, saying it had left everyone associated with the production “shocked and incredibly sad”.
“Our thoughts are with Peaches and the company Mommie Queerest, Heklina’s family, friends and their wider community at this time,” the venue said in a statement to Variety.
There was no immediate word on the cause or manner of Heklina’s death.
Drag singer Peaches Christ, who was playing Heclina in a drag parody in London, revealed she made the tragic discovery. Arellano, Juan
Matt Haney, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, took to Twitter to mourn Heklina, who he described as a “drag legend, brilliant performer and trailblazing community icon.”
State Sen. Scott Wiener hailed the late performer as “the soul of San Francisco,” adding that “it’s hard to imagine the city without him.”
Born in Minneapolis in 1968, Heklina moved to California in the 1990s after spending time in her mother’s native Iceland.
The name “Heklina” is inspired by the Icelandic volcano Hekla.
After settling in San Francisco, Heklina founded a popular weekly show, now known as Mother, which has been staged in nightlife hotspots across the city and has featured the likes of Lady Gaga and Charro .
Peaches Christ said she had no information on Heklina’s cause of death. Arellano, Juan
Heklina was also known for playing the role of Dorothy on the drag show “The Golden Girls Live,” which has been a mainstay in the Mission District.
In 2015, Heklina co-founded the Oasis drag and cabaret bar, which mourned the performer’s death on social media.
“She created a drag movement that really changed what we see as performance drag, not just in San Francisco and the US, but around the world,” said Oasis owner D’Arcy Drollinger.
Heklina had been a mainstay of San Francisco nightlife since the 1990s, hosting a popular weekly drag show and co-founding a nightclub.
The iconic Castro Theater in San Francisco changed it on Tuesday, writing: “Relax at Power Heklina! 1968-2023.”
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