Justin Flippen, the 41-year-old openly gay mayor of Wilton Manors, Florida, died suddenly early Tuesday night as he was driving to a meeting of the Wilton Manors City Commission.
Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell said Flippen was taken to a nearby hospital due to a serious “medical issue,” and that he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police Chief Paul O’Connell said Wednesday that the Medical Examiner’s Office determined Flippen died of a brain aneurysm.
Flippen was elected mayor in 2018 on a platform of experience, fiscal responsibility, inclusive community values and protecting neighborhoods’ small-town feel. He had filed to run for reelection this November.
With his election, Wilton Manors became only the second city in the U.S. to have an entirely LGBTQ elected city government. Palm Springs was the first.
Flippen was first elected to the Commission in November 2008 and then picked to serve as Vice Mayor. He also served from 2008-2010 and 2014-2018 before being elected mayor in 2018.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who Flippen had endorsed for president, tweeted his condolences.
I’m saddened by the loss of Mayor @justinflippen, who was so encouraging and kind whenever we saw him. My prayers go out to his family, loved ones, and the city of Wilton Manors. Our communities owe so much to public servants like Justin.https://t.co/aoSbo7hpN8
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 26, 2020