The singer Ari Gold has died at the age of 47 following a battle with cancer. RuPaul, who was a friend and mentor to Gold, was among the first to mark his passing yesterday and offer condolences online.
“Until we meet again, dear friend. @SirAriGold Love always, Ru,” he said on Twitter and Instagram.
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) February 14, 2021
Another friend, Len Evans, posted on Facebook, “I’m so heartbroken to hear that Ari Gold lost his battle to cancer today. He was a friend and someone I’ve known for 20 + years and a trailblazer in the LGBTQ community. Such a sad ending to a beautiful, talented happy soul. 💔 Love you, Ari!”
Gold was born and raised in the Bronx to an orthodox Jewish family. At the age of just five, he was already demonstrating a precocious talent, winning the First Annual Jewish Children’s Song Festival. This led to him singing on kids’ TV themes, cartoons and commercials.
In the late 1990s, Gold began performing his own material in NYC venues and clubs such as Joe’s Pub, Splash, and Pyramid, before releasing his self-titled debut album in 2001. His pop and R’n’B influenced songs were explicitly queer in their content.
His second album, Space Under The Sun, came out in 2004, followed by a remixes album in 2005, with the likes of ‘Wave of You’, ‘Love Wasn’t Built in a Day’, and ‘Where the Music Takes You’ becoming dancefloor hits. He undertook nationwide tours, became a Pride festival staple, and worked with the likes of Kevin Aviance and Boy George.
View this post on Instagram
Gold released seven albums during his career, including some under the monikers Sir Ari and GoldNation.
Gold underwent treatment for leukemia in 2019 and was later declared cancer-free. He made a podcast, A Kiki From the Cancer Ward, in which he interviewed friends who had visited him or shown support.
On an episode in which he interviewed RuPaul, Gold said, “Ru became the closest thing I’ve known to a mentor. I couldn’t tell you how many hours on the phone we’d spend where I would vomit out my perceived problems of the moment and Ru would give me a more evolved, spiritual perspective.” In return, Gold offered RuPaul advice on independently releasing music.
Performer Peppermint said on Instagram, “Ari, You came into my life before I even knew who you were. Listening to you on some of my favorite morning cartoons as a little kid. I never would have dreamed that we’d not only become close friends later but be tied together through our love of music Madonna and Wonder Woman. you inspired and mentored me in ways that you will never know. Right now I so desperately want the world to know everything you did. I want them to celebrate you. You understood and were open and you got it before anyone else ever did and I love you for always centering me.”
Laverne Cox said: “I’m so utterly devastated that you’ve moved on today. But I know you’ll be watching over me as you always have. I’m so grateful to have known you. I’m better because you have been a part of my life. My brother! I love you so much! Rest in Power!!”
View this post on Instagram
Drag performer Lady Bunny also posted on Facebook, “Very sorry to learn that singer/songwriter Ari Gold has passed. I’ll always remember him as a sweetheart of the NYC club scene. He had been ill for quite a few years, and that’s all the details I know. His birthday was just on February the 11th. Farewell!”
— Larry Flick (@LarryFlick) February 14, 2021