In 2015 we lost a great many gay icons and LGBT allies. From Authors to Singers, Politicians to Medical specialists.

Here are just some of those who passed away in 2015.
Ellsworth Kelly

27th December 2015, aged 92

A New York born painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He died on the 27th December at the age of 92, leaving behind his partner Jack Shear, who he live with since 1984. Jack has been referred to as his husband, not it is not known if there pair wed before Ellsworth’s death.
He was a famous minimalist, who’s artwork often employed just one or two blocks of colour.

Darren Batey

23rd December 2015, aged 32.

Tributes poured in for Batey, a pride hero and tireless LGBT charity worker who helped create Bolton’s first pride event in 2015. He was just 32 when he passed away.

Blue Blake

15th October 2015, aged 52

Legendary gay porn performer Blue Blake passed away in his apartment at the age of 52. Born in Nottingham, Blue started his career in the adult industry 20 years ago. He started as a performer but became a writer and director. In 2008 he released an autobiography of his time as a porn star in a book called, Out Of The Blue: Confessions Of An Unlikely Porn Star.

Brian Sewell

19th September 2015, aged 84

Brian Sewell was an art critic that courted controversy. He was the art critic at The Evening Standard for over 30 years. He was happier describing himself as queer instead of gay – and had a strong opposition to same-sex marriage. During a documentary on Channel 4 about the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, he said, “I never came out… but I have slowly emerged”.

Jackie Collins

19th September 2015, aged 77

Jackie Collins lost her battle with stage 4 breast cancer on the 19th September. Her sister Joan Collins is said to be “devastated” by the loss. Jackie Collins had written 32 books in her lifetime and had included a gay character from the very beginning. She lost a very close childhood friend to suicide, Peter, who was gay. His suicide prompted her to say to Out Magazine,
“One day he committed suicide. And that made me think really deeply about the problems that some poor guys go through when they want to come out.

“I’ll never forget Peter,” she says. “He was so good-looking; he had curly hair, and he was tall and lovely. He just couldn’t come out, and then he killed himself. He must have been about 17, maybe.”

Jazz Summers

14th August 2015, aged 71

It could be argued that without Jazz Summers, there would be no WHAM! or George Michael. Summers was one of the most powerful music managers during the 80s. He died at the age of 71 after suffering from lung cancer. He is also credited with representing, Scissor Sisters, Lisa Stansfield and La Roux.

Charl van den Berg

6th August 2015, aged 33

The 33-year-old South African activist and model died after being diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. He was Mr Gay South Africa in 2009 and became Mr Gay World in 2010. With his win, Mr. Van den Berg said he wanted to,
“break down stereotypes and differing mindsets in the global community and promote oneness and equality for all people by bridging the gap between those mindsets.
“It is my understanding that people are people before we are different.”

 

Cilla Black

1st August 2015, aged 72

Legendary performer and entertainer Cilla Black died after a fall, following a stroke at her Spanish home. Her musical career spawned two number hits, Anyone Who Had A Heart and You’re My World and a slew of top 10s including Aflie.

 

Roger Rees

10th July 2015 aged 71

Born in Wales, but became a US citizen. He died at the age of 71 after a short illness of brain cancer. He leaves behind his husband, playwright, Rick Elice. He was famous for his acting in TV series, Cheers, Singles and The West Wing.

Beau Biden

30th May 2015, aged 46

The 46-year-old son of Joe Biden died from brain cancer. Beau Biden was the eldest son of Joe Biden. He was described as an “outspoken supporter of LGBT rights” by Advocate magazine. He had been battling brain cancer for several years.

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Martin Fisher

21st April 2015

Martin Fisher was a leading HIV Specialist instrumental in field of HIV medicine and research over two decades. He was found by police at his home.

 

Richard Glazter

10th March 2015

The writer and co-director of Still Alice after a battle with ALS. His partner British born partner for 20 years issued the following statement:
‘I am devastated. Rich was my soul mate, my collaborator, my best friend and my life. Seeing him battle ALS for four years with such grace and courage inspired me and all who knew him.
In this dark time, I take some consolation in the fact that he got to see Still Alice go out into the world. He put his heart and soul into that film, and the fact that it touched so many people was a constant joy to him.

 

Sam Simon

8th March 2015Sam Simon was the co-creator of The Simpsons. He was instrumental in helping TheGayUK save Benjy the gay bull from slaughter. He was just 59 when he died from colon cancer. He was an animal lover and donated £5000 to our campaign to save Benji.

 

Dirk Shafer

5th March 2015, aged 52

Shafer first came to public attention when he appeared at age 27 in a photo spread in Playgirl Magazines ‘Holiday 1990’ issue, and was chosen as their Man Of The Year in 1992. He documented all the process and pressures he was under from all sides to pose as straight into the 1995 movie he directed and starred in. He died on the 8th March 2015.

 

Albert Maysles

5th March 2015, aged 88Albert died at the age of 88… Albert has continued to make films the latest of which is ‘Iris’ a profile of 93 year iconic fashion maven Iris Apfel which was profile in TheGayUK.

 

Leslie Gore

16th Feb 2015, aged 68

Lesley Gore composed songs for the 1980 movie ‘Fame’ for which she received an Academy Award Nomination, and she recorded her last album in 2005 entitled Ever Since. An out lesbian, who had been with her partner Lpis Sasson a jeweler designer for 33 years, Ms. Gore also hosted the PBS TV series In The Life which focused ion LGBT matters in 2004

 

Steve Strange

12th Feb 2015, aged 55

Strange was the lead singer and frontman of the group ‘Visage’ who were closely linked to the burgeoning ‘New Romantic’ fashion movement of that period, and who were best know for their hit ‘Fade to Grey’. He and fellow band member Rusty Egan also hosted nights at the celebrated Blitz Club in Covent Garden, one of the ‘hot’ spots to be seen and hear the new music that was emerging. From there they parlayed their success into packed nights at Camden Palace which people still talk about today with such great affection. They were both members of the extraordinary colourful set that fellow member Boy George captured in his autobiographical show ‘Taboo’.

 

Demis Roussos

25th January 2015, aged 68

Roussos became a gay icon by default after being referenced in the film Abigail’s Party, a Mike Lee film which has gay men all over the world quoting its camp lines. His most successful single “Forever And Ever” was No. 1 in the Charts in 1976, and he followed that with five other Top Ten Hits. As his career grew so did his waistline and so too did his signature kaftans which were the epitome of camp, and they just got bigger and brasher.

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