Artist and activist Gilbert Baker died
Thursday at the age of 65.
Baker was best known for creating the
iconic rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBT pride.
Baker died in his sleep at his home in
New York, friends said.
“My dearest friend in the world is
gone,” tweeted activist Cleve Jones, who helped Baker create the
first flag. “Gilbert Baker gave the world the Rainbow Flag; he
gave me forty years of love and friendship.”
In When We Rise, Jones quotes
Baker: “[The rainbow flag] belonged to all of us. It was the most
thrilling moment of my life, because I knew right then that this was
the most important thing I would ever do – that my whole life was
going to be about the rainbow flag.”
Baker's first flag was introduced
during San Francisco Pride in 1978. Though his original design had
eight colors, today's popularized version has six: red, orange,
yellow, green, blue and purple. Baker agreed to drop pink and
turquoise largely because they were difficult to reproduce.
Baker's new invention came as San
Francisco's gay and lesbian community struggled to find a unifying
symbol. He personally rejected other ideas such as reclaiming the
pink triangle used by Nazi Germany to identify gays and the Greek