Tributes abounded for San Francisco’s pioneering racehorse Hulklina, who died at the age of 54 while touring Britain.
Heklina, whose real name is Stefan Grigelko, was an icon among the San Francisco drag community who performed under the persona Heklina, and was found dead Monday by her friend and Peaches Christ touring partner, Joshua Grannell, in London.
I am shocked and dismayed when I tell you this news. I’m living through a real nightmare, so forgive me if I don’t have all the answers right now. This morning, in London, England, I went to pick up my good friend Hicklina, who shares a Mommie Queerest show with me here, and found her dead, Peaches Christ wrote.
The pair have been touring with their stage production of Mommie Querest, which parodies the 1981 drama Mommie Dearest, starring Faye Dunaway. It is set for two weeks at the Soho Theatre.
An official cause of death of the performer was not disclosed.
Pictured: Heklina performing on stage at Roast Battle in 2019. Stefan Grygelko, 54, who was appreciated among the San Francisco drag community for performing under the persona of Heklina, was found dead on Monday in London
The tribute was paid by Peaches Christ on social media. Peach found Christ Hulklina dead Monday morning
American singer, actress and drag queen Trixie Mattel posted: ICON! Our structure was punk rock and made drag what it is today. legend.’
Soho Theater also confirmed Hicklina’s death in a statement. It reads: “Our thoughts are with The Peaches Company, Mommie Queerest, Heklina’s family, friends + their wider community.”
Hicklina was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She lived in Iceland before moving to San Francisco.
The name Heklina originates from the Hekla volcano in southern Iceland.
Hicklina secured legendary status in San Francisco’s drag community in 1996 when she began hosting the popular weekly series now known as The Mother, which drew stars like Lady Gaga and Charro.
The organization has launched several drag careers, with RuPaul’s Drag Race: Alaska Thunder**** winning All-Stars.
Pictured: Hiklina onstage during Wigstock 2018 at Pier 17 on September 1, 2018 in New York City. Hicklina was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She lived in Iceland before moving to San Francisco
On Monday, Heklina’s fans took to social media to pay tribute to the artist
American singer, actor and drag queen Trixie Mattel was also praised
“Hiklina is an institution,” Alaska said in 2020. “The cloud seedlings I planted and watered over the years have grown into endless gardens and bouquets of cloud excellence. I continue to admire her work ethic, perseverance, and heart. And her immortality.”
Heklina co-opened the San Francisco Oasis in 2015.
She has also performed and performed numerous times across town events and various fairs.
Hicklina also appeared in the 2010 independent parody feature Baby Jane? He frequently starred in productions of the city’s popular show Golden Girls Live.
Heklina has sung with Peaches Christ in several stage productions.
She also appeared as Dorothy Zbornek in the popular San Francisco drag production of The Golden Girls.
Hicklina was one of the founders of the long-running drag show Trannyshack that started in the Stud Bar in the mid-1990s.
She was part of the group of owners who relaunched the Oasis nightclub and theater in the city’s SoMa district, with a grand reopening in 2014.
On Monday, Hicklina’s fans took to social media for praise.
“I will miss you, you will be missed by thousands,” someone wrote in Heklina’s last Instagram post.
“The memories we have and the laughter you give us are the dearest gifts. Thank you for being so good to our community Hiklina.