Los Angeles, California — Actress and transgender activist Alexis Arquette, 47, died on Sunday night her family has confirmed. Part of the famous Arquette acting family, she died while surrounded by her family.
Her death was confirmed by brother Richmond Arquette, who told news outlets that she died listening to David Bowie song ‘Starman’.
An activist for the rights of transgender, Arquette was also known for being the sister to actors David, Patricia, and Rosanna.
Brother David later posted a statement of his own, saying that “Never have I had the honor of knowing and loving a funnier more beautiful soul then my brother/sister Alexis”.
According to a source who told People, Arquette died from an AIDS-related illness and was sick for years. At one point, she was bedridden and unable to leave the house.
Born Robert Arquette, she made the transition from male to female in 2006, with a documentary being filmed about the experience. Later released in 2007, “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother” gathered a popular following throughout the various festivals it was screened at.
Other members of her family have spoken of the passing, including Richmond Arquette, who wrote on his Facebook page:
“Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, who became our brother Alexis, passed this morning September 11, at 12:32 am,”
He also mentioned how several family members and loved ones were present at the end, and that David Bowie track ‘Starman’ was playing as she passed.
Her sister Patricia took to Twitter shortly after her death, Tweeting “Breaking through the veil singing Starman” alongside a link to the famous Bowie song, along with “To my best friend – Cosmic Dancer” and a link to the T-Rex song. Patricia also posted a link to the family’s official press release on Facebook concerning her sister’s death.
Alexis had been one of the early vocal activists for the rights of transgenders, having identified as a woman from a very young age.
“I’ve worn makeup since I was 12,” she said.
“They weren’t in denial so much as their fear was that if I came out as transgender and live my life as a woman that might receive a lot of flak from people on the street.”
There was an outpouring of support on Twitter after the news broke of her death, including actress and comedian Rosanne Barr and singer Boy George – the latter being the inspiration for Arquette’s best known role in ‘The Wedding Singer’.
“R.I.P. my sister Alexis Arquette,” he wrote.
“Another bright light gone out far too soon. Love to the family and all that loved Alexis.”
Brother David would also take to Twitter to share his thanks for the support. “Thank you all for your love and kind words about Alexis. My hero for eternity”.