Gilbert Baker, Creator Of LGBT Rainbow Flag, Has Died Aged 65

The world is “far less colorful” by the death of the US artist and LGBT activist, according to an Oscar-winning filmmaker.

An icon in the LGBT movement:

According to rights activist Cleve Jones, American artist Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag representing LGBT rights, has died aged 65.

Baker taught himself to sew in his 20s, and he came up with the iconic eight-colored banner for San Francisco’s 1978 gay freedom day, which was a predecessor to the Pride festival.

Baker was heavily involved in the San Francisco LGBT rights movement. He was a former US soldier, as well as a close friend of murdered activist and politician Harvey Milk.

Jones posted on Facebook saying “I am heartbroken. My dearest friend in the world is gone. Gilbert gave the world the Rainbow Flag; he gave me 40 years of love and friendship. I can’t stop crying. I love you forever Gilbert Baker.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the artist died in his sleep at his home in New York late on Thursday

An outpour of love:

Tributes on social media outpoured after his death.

Filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for the screenplay to the 2008 biopic Milk, starring Sean Penn as the gay politician, tweeted saying “Rainbows weep. Our world is far less colorful without you, my love.”

“I just talked to Gilbert last month. He gave us his best and the rainbow flag will be an even more treasured keepsake of our history,” wrote Robert York, a senior director at healthcare lobby group the National Quality Forum

Jones invited mourners to gather for an evening vigil under a rainbow flag in the city’s Castro district in a tweet where he posted a photo of Baker with former president Barack Obama.