SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Gilbert Baker, the man who created the rainbow flag, has died.
He was 65 years old.
In 1978, he was asked by San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk to create a flag that would symbolize the gay community.
Gilbert was paid $1,000 for his design.
A native of Kansas, he lived in San Francisco from 1970 to 1994 before moving to New York City.
A memorial will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at Market and Castro streets.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued the following statement:
“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Gilbert Baker, the creator of the iconic and beloved rainbow flag.”
At a time of great uncertainty in the LGBT community, Gilbert’s act of sewing together multicolored materials unified and empowered individuals across the country, helping to bring them together under a common cause.
The rainbow flag is more than just a symbol. It is the embodiment of the LGBT community, and it has become a source of solace, comfort and pride for all those who look upon it. Standing side-by-side with Harvey Milk, Gilbert first raised the flag here in San Francisco, but those rainbow colors are now seen around the world.
Gilbert was a trailblazer for LGBT rights, a powerful artist and a true friend to all who knew him. Our thoughts are with his friends and family. He will be missed.”
In memory of Gilbert Baker’s contributions to the LGBT community, the rainbow flag will fly at half-staff from the Mayor’s balcony.
And here is a statement from Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.
“Gilbert Baker was the LGBT community’s Betsy Ross.
The kid from Kansas was inspired by his own over the rainbow experience in 1978. The 8 color flag which later became the 6 color flag is now the global symbol for the LGBT community. Gilbert was a master of political theatre and the core of his personal being was artistry. The rainbow flag will always be his greatest work of art.
Gilbert was an inspiration to me and my hero. My heart aches and I will miss him dearly.”
— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) April 1, 2017