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Orlando Columnist Billy Manes Dies at 45, Leaves Lasting Legacy

Billy Manes
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On the heels of the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre, Orlando has once again been impacted by the loss of one of their own.

On Friday evening, Billy Manes, activist, prior columnist for the Orlando Weekly and recent editor-in-chief of Watermark, passed away.

“Manes died just after 4 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the age of 45, surrounded by his husband Anthony Mauss, friends and family at Orlando Regional Medical Center,” reported the Orlando Weekly early Saturday morning.

Billy Manes
Billy Manes was a candidate for Orlando mayor in 2005. (Image by Orlando Sentinel)

“We are devastated to hear the news of Billy Manes’s passing,” read a statement released by Watermark staff on Twitter. “Billy bared his soul for the betterment of everyone and his legacy will live on in those he inspired.”

Manes’s business savvy, writing skills, and activism progressed him through a series of roles with the Orlando Weekly and eventually landed him the job as editor-in-chief for Orlando-based LGBT newspaper Watermark.

His personal stories on marriage equality, his later coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and his run for Orlando Mayor left a lasting legacy with Orlando community members.

Watermark will pay tribute to Manes’s memory in their next issue. Readers are encouraged to share thoughts and memories with the Watermark team to honor his passing. Watermark posted the following tweet earlier this morning:

To learn more about Billy Manes, click here.

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Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She was the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization. She is currently the Publisher of OutCoast.com and Producer of the OutCoast TV YouTube Channel, both of which highlight LGBTQ welcoming destinations in Florida.


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