Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen, who was a part of Florida's first all-LGBTQ city commission, died Tuesday. He was 41.
"We are very sad. Our hearts go out to Justin's family and friends," the Wilton Manors city officials said in a statement. "This is a horrible loss for our community."
Officials initially said Flippen was believed to have died of a massive heart attack, but Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O'Connell said Wednesday that the cause of death was a brain aneurysm.
A celebration of life service will be held Friday, March 6, at The Venue Fort Lauderdale at 2345 Wilton Drive. More info can be found here.
Flippen was a commissioner when he was elected mayor back in 2018. Just four years before, he was elected into city commission out of a field of seven candidates and was known as "The People's Commissioner" due to his grassroots approach to public service.
"This is a sad and difficult time," Vice Mayor Tom Green said at a news conference Wednesday. "He was not only a colleague but a great friend."
Resident Tony LoGrande stopped by city hall Wednesday morning to add flowers to a memorial for Flippen.
"He did so much for the community. In the two years that he was mayor he did more than many many other people involved with this city," LoGrande said. "He had a heart, he loved humanity, he loved children, he loved our community so much."
A native of Broward County, he graduated from Florida Atlantic University, where he served as Florida's first openly gay student body president.
"We are all shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden death of our dear friend, Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen. He was a charismatic and dynamic leader, full of energy and facing a future of unlimited potential," Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen said in a statement. "From his time with the Broward Young Democrats and the Dolphin Democrats, through his tenure as an elected official, Justin retained his optimistic outlook.
"Justin was a lifelong LGBTQ activist and effective leader who found his calling in public service, most recently serving as mayor of the first all-LGBTQ city commission in Florida. He will be missed by so many people whose lives he touched, and his legacy will live on forever. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus sends our condolences to Justin's family, his constituents and colleagues."