The 41-year-old mayor of Wilton Manors died of an aneurysm on Tuesday night, city officials reported on Wednesday.
A city commission meeting was abruptly adjourned after Justin Flippen, who was elected mayor in 2018, was rushed to the hospital.
City workers lowered flags to half staff near Wilton Manors City Hall and there was a candlelight vigil late Tuesday night.
Flippen served as a city commissioner in Wilton Manors, which in 2018 became the first city in Florida to have an all-LGBTQ city commission.
Like all of us who knew him, I am devastated by the news of Justin Flippen’s passing. 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. https://t.co/eL7Woc4xFR
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) February 26, 2020
The official statement from the city of Wilton Manors:
“We are deeply saddened to share that Mayor Justin Flippen passed away earlier this evening. We ask that everyone respect Mayor Flippen’s memory, family members, friends, and our entire community that is mourning by allowing the City to provide official information via our website (www.wiltonmanors.com), as well as the city’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Details, on when and how our community may come together to honor the life and legacy of Mayor Flippen, will be shared as they become available,” said Leigh Ann Henderson, City Manager of Wilton Manors.”
When Tuesday’s city commission meeting began just after 7 p.m., it was announced that the mayor could not attend. After about 35 minutes, a recess was called. Soon after, the commission returned and adjourned the meeting due to an emergency. Flippen never made it to Tuesday night’s meeting.
A graduate of Coconut Creek High School, Broward College, and Florida Atlantic University, he became Florida’s first openly-gay student body president at FIU, as well as serving as an intern for U.S. Senator Bob Graham.
He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law.
Officials have been posting condolences on social media.