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Alexis Arquette, transgender actress and activist, dies aged 47

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Alexis Arquette, the transgender actress and sibling of actors David, Richmond, Rosanna and Patricia Arquette, has passed away at the age of 47. She died early on Sunday morning and was surrounded by her family who serenaded her with David Bowie's Starman, her brothers and sisters confirmed in a statement.

"Alexis was a brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor," they said. "We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth – that love is everything."

alexis© Photo: Getty Images

Alexis Arquette has sadly passed away at the age of 47

The siblings continued: "Alexis always had to do everything first, she left before we were ready to let her go. We are all heartbroken that she is no longer with us, but we are grateful for the grace and kindness we were all shown during this difficult time.

"We are comforted by the fact that Alexis came into our family and was our brother and then our sister, and that she gave us so much love. We will love you always, Alexis. We know we were the lucky ones."

Alexis was born Robert Arquette in LA in 1969, and got into the entertainment industry from a young age, appearing in the music video for the Tubes' She's a Beauty aged just 12.


Pictured with siblings David Arquette and Patricia Arquette

Her big break came in the 1989 adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn, in which she played the trans sex worker Georgette, and she also had bit roles in films such as Pulp Fiction, Bride of Chucky, and as a Boy George impersonator in the Adam Sandler comedy The Wedding Singer.

Following the news, Boy George tweeted his condolences to "my sister Alexis Arquette. Another bright light gone out far too soon".

Alexis also appeared on the reality series The Surreal Life, and was credited for bringing increased awareness to the transgender community. She chronicled her transition and the process of her sex reassignment surgery in the 2007 documentary Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother.

alexis4© Photo: Twitter

David has paid tribute to Alexis on Twitter

In their statement, the Arquettes said that their sister's career was "cut short, not by her passing, but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman".

"Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people," they said.

The cause of Alexis' death is not yet known, although her brother Richmond revealed in his Facebook tribute that it was "fast and painless".

David Arquette also took to social media to honour his late sibling, sharing a photo of the pair together with the caption: "Thank you all for you love and kind words about Alexis. My hero for eternity."

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