Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday mourned the loss of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato.

Kato was found bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home near Kampala, the nation's capital, CNN reported.

“We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday,” Clinton said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.”

Friends told the BBC that Kato had received repeated death threats after his name, photograph and address was published in Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper late last year. The cover story of Uganda's “top 100 homos” included a yellow banner that read “hang them.”

While being gay in Uganda is a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment in some cases, lawmaker David Bahati has sponsored legislation that includes a death penalty provision for people who repeatedly engage in gay sex and those who are HIV-positive. The bill also bans the “promotion of homosexuality,” which would effectively outlaw political organizations, broadcasters and publishers that advocate on behalf of gay rights.

Kato and his group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, had campaigned against the bill.

Kato's “efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda's LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission's October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda's draft 'anti-homosexuality bill' and the Ugandan High Court's January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans' right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity,” Clinton added.

CNN reports that arrest warrants have been issued for two suspects.