Artist and activist Gilbert Baker has died almost 40 years after creating the Rainbow Flag that now symbolizes gay pride around the world, ABC 7 reports.
The first Rainbow Flag made its public debut in 1978 at San Francisco Pride.
Baker's partner of 40 years, fellow civil rights activist Cleve Jones, later confirmed the news on Twitter. Gilbert Baker gave us the rainbow flag to unite us. I can't stop crying. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Baker died his his sleep at his home in NY.
Baker's cause of death is unknown.
Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. Baker credits Milk for inspiring his work with the message of hope.
He was heavily involved within the San Francisco gay rights movement and had a close friendship with Harvey Milk.
In 2015, New York's Museum of Modern Art acquired the flag for its design collection, calling it a "powerful design milestone".
According to the bio on Baker's website, "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". "Flags are about power", he said. He re-created the banners and flags for the Oscar-nominated film Milk, which starred Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch.
According to BuzzFeed News reporter Dominic Holden, Baker gave the original, hand-sewn rainbow flag as a gift to former President Barack Obama.
Jones made the announcement through a Facebook post on Friday afternoon. In more ways than one, our LGBTQ world is far less colorful without you.
'Even rainbows weep. Our spectacular Gilbert Baker has left us. In Gilbert's memory #UNITE again.
'I love you, Gilbert.