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Pride flag creator Gilbert Baker has died at 65

Gilbert Baker (1951 - 2017)
Photo credit:
nydailynews.com

The creator of what has become a symbol of unity and Pride within the LGBT community has died.

According to AIDS Memorial Quilt founder Cleve Jones, rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker has passed away.

Jones made the announcement through a Facebook post on Friday afternoon.

“I am heartbroken. My dearest friend in the world is gone. Gilbert gave the world the Rainbow Flag; he gave me forty years of love and friendship. I can't stop crying. I love you forever Gilbert Baker.”

Gilbert, 65, created the flag in 1974 when San Francisco activist Harvey Milk asked him to come up with a symbol that would represent the gay community.

He taught himself to sew and it was this skill which led him to become an activist who was able to quickly stitch displays of protest.

From gilbertbaker.com:

“It was this skill that he put to use making banners for gay and anti-war street protest marches, often at a moments notice, at the behest of his friend Harvey Milk- later elected to office and assassinated Nov 27, 1978.”

"Milk rode triumphantly under the first Rainbow Flags Baker made at their debut on June 25th 1978, for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Baker credits Milk for inspiring his work with the message of hope.

"Early in 2008 Baker returned to San Francisco to recreate the banners and flags he made in the 70”s for the Academy Award winning feature film “Milk” starring Sean Penn."

Jones’ Facebook post has already generated a few condolences as word of Gilbert’s death is just beginning to circulate through the media. 

“So sad. Such a great shiny person. He made our lives so much more interesting. I always felt like I was getting in some kind of good trouble whenever I was with him.” - Ggreg Taylor 

“My condolences to you on the loss of this beautiful friend.” - George M. Carter

As this is  a breaking story, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News will update it as more information becomes available.