Justin Flippen, the openly gay mayor of
Wilton Manors, Florida, suddenly died on Tuesday. He was 41.
Flippen was driving to a Wilton Manors
City Commission meeting on Tuesday night while speaking with a
committee member on the phone. The member became alarmed and called
911. The mayor was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced
dead, local media reported.
Authorities said that Flippen appears
to have suffered a brain aneurysm, according to reporting from the
Wilton Manors is located outside Ft.
Lauderdale. The city has a high percentage of people who identify as
LGBT. According to the 2010 census, 14 percent of its residents are
gay or lesbian couples, the second-highest percentage in the nation
behind Provincetown, Massachusetts. It is one of only a handful of
cities where all of the city's elected officials are LGBT.
Flippen, who was elected in 2018 and
expected to win re-election this year, was engaged to be married.
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete
Buttigieg, the openly gay former mayor of South Bend, Indiana,
tweeted that he was “saddened” to hear of Flippen's death.
“[Flippen] was so encouraging and
kind whenever we saw him,” Buttigieg wrote. “My prayers go out to
his family, loved ones, and the city of Wilton Manors. Our
communities owe so much to public servants like Justin.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, said in a tweet that it was
“[mourning] the tragic loss of Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen,
a longstanding and beloved member of the @HRC community.”
Wilton Manors officials said in a
statement that it was a “sad and difficult time for our grieving
city and community as we mourn the passing of Mayor Justin Flippen. …
His death was a shock to us all.”