PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Leaders across Oregon are expressing their condolences after Walter Cole, the performer behind one of Portland’s most beloved figures Darcelle, died on Thursday.
Darcelle, a drag queen in Portland since his late 30s in the 1960s, was 92 when he passed away from natural causes, according to a statement made by his family, cast and crew.
The outpouring of condolences from the community was immediate, and it included reaction from Oregon’s governor, senators and Portland’s mayor.
Calling Darcelle a “humanitarian and Oregon treasure,” Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek said she and her wife were deeply saddened by Darcelle’s passing.
“Thank you for the joy you brought to many,” Kotek said on Twitter. “You will be forever fabulous!”
Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden also expressed his condolences on Twitter.
“Darcelle carved out an unforgettable chapter in Portland’s history, and will forever be remembered as a legendary entertainer who graced our city with a generosity of spirit & pioneering courage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler wrote online that Darcelle was more than their performance.
“Their legacy will live on through their philanthropy, legendary show venue, and the countless lives they’ve impacted for good,” he said.