Billy Porter Announces Death Of His Mother, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford, At 79

Billy Porter is mourning the death of his mother, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford.

The “Pose” star and his sister, Mary Martha Ford, shared their loss Thursday on Instagram with a tribute. While the post included a carousel of happy family photos, it acknowledged just how devastated the siblings are at losing their mom at 79.

“With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our loving mother, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford,” it read. “We were right behind her when she took her last breath, wrapped in our arms. Mommy lived life to the fullest despite physical limitations pressed upon her.”

“She was the personification of true Christianity and her unconditional love is a template that the world could benefit from employing,” the post, which both siblings shared on their individual Instagram pages, continued. “Her example is what we continue to strive for.”

Porter shared in his memoir “Unprotected” (2021) that his mother “was born with a degenerative neurological condition” that “no doctor or specialist has been able to name.” She initially relied on a walker but was relegated to a wheelchair in her later years.

“We are heartbroken she is no longer here with us, but find solace that her suffering has ended,” he wrote Thursday. “Her fight was long and hard—she did it with grace and integrity. Mommy will remain forever in our hearts as she continues to guide us from above.”

Porter was very close to his mother but had a difficult childhood. He told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 that he was sexually abused by his stepfather as a child and came out as gay at 16 “in the middle of the AIDS crisis” — which wasn’t easy for him or his religious mom.

“It’s time to grow up and move on because shame is destructive — and if not dealt with, it can destroy everything in its path,” he told the outlet. “And my shame was really connected to my relationship with my mother and my ex-relationship with the church.”

Porter was eventually diagnosed with HIV but told the outlet he initially kept it a secret from his mother — as she “had been through so much ... persecution by her religious community because of my queerness” that he “didn’t want her to have to live through their ‘I told you so’s.’”

While the performer added that he “was embarrassed,” his mother saw him thrive as an award-winning artist and outspoken member of the LGBTQ+ community. An official cause of death for Porter’s mom has yet to be disclosed.