Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen died suddenly Tuesday night of a brain aneurysm, reports The Miami Herald.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the news that Mayor Justin Flippen has passed away very unexpectedly,” The Pride Center said in a Facebook post. “Justin led by example by being a strong leader. Our community was better because of his hard work and he will be deeply missed.”
Flippen, 41, was on his way to a commission meeting Tuesday when he became ill and was rushed to the hospital.
“We were notified that Justin apparently was on his way to the City Commission meeting and they had to rush him to the hospital and he passed away at the hospital,” said Commissioner Gary Resnick, who served as mayor before Flippen.
The Broward County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Wednesday that Flippen’s cause of death was a brain aneurysm. “The manner of death was natural,” Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell said in a statement.
His sudden death has shocked the Wilton Manors community.
“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.”
At front door to @WiltonManorsCty Hall on Wednesday morning, the beginnings of a memorial to Mayor Justin Flippen, who died Tuesday evening. pic.twitter.com/ebzOQPlF0g
— Anthony Man (@browardpolitics) February 26, 2020
“Like all of us who knew him, I am devastated by the news of Justin Flippen’s passing,” tweeted Broward & Palm Beach Rep. Ted Deutch. “Justin was a fine public servant, a wonderful person, and a dear friend. My thoughts are with his family as we all mourn this tragic loss. May Justin rest in peace.”
“Justin was a great kid. I’ve watched him grow up from a 20-something legislative aide to the mayor of Wilton Manors. He was engaged. He was getting married. He was so full of hope for the future. I’m just devastated,” said Stacy Ritter to the Sun-Sentinel. Ritter is president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau – where Flippen worked.
Flippen, who was first elected to the City Commission in 2008, was elected mayor in 2018. It was also a landmark election year when the Wilton Manors became the first city in Florida’s history to have an all-LGBTQ City Commission.
Flippen was raised in Broward County. He gained degrees from Broward College, Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida Law School. At FAU, he became Florida’s first openly gay student body president.
“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,” Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen said in a statement. “He will be missed by so many people whose lives he touched, and his legacy will live on forever.”
I’m devastated to hear that Mayor Justin Flippen has passed away. He was a young, dedicated public servant whose passion for making his community better will be sorely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to have known him. May his memory be a blessing, & may he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/Is6bBo6qtU
— Rep. Lois Frankel (@RepLoisFrankel) February 26, 2020
At Wilton Manors City Hall, flags were at half-staff Wednesday morning in honor of Justin Flippen.