Gay rights activist and brother of former Miami mayor found dead in Florida landfill

A gay rights activist who played a large role in legalizing same sex marriages in Florida has been found dead in a landfill, NBC News reports.

The death of Jorge Diaz-Johnston, 54, is being investigated as a homicide. Investigators say he was last seen alive on Jan. 3. He was found in a pile of trash at a landfill in Baker, Florida. Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who is his brother, gave a statement confirming his brother's death.

“I am profoundly appreciative of the outpouring of support shown to me, my brother-in-law Don, and my family after the loss of my brother, Jorge Diaz-Johnston," he wrote. "My brother was such a special gift to this world whose heart and legacy will continue to live on for generations to come."

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In 2014, Jorge Diaz-Johnston and his husband, Don Diaz-Johnston, and five other same-sex couples sued the Miami-Dade County clerk’s office after they were barred from getting married. In January 2015, a Miami-Dade circuit court judge ruled in their favor, legalizing same-sex marriage in Miami-Dade County -- more than a year before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage for the entire country.

“There are just no words for the loss of my beloved husband Jorge Isaias Diaz-Johnston,” Don Diaz-Johnston wrote. “I can’t stop crying as I try and write this. But he meant so much to all of you as he did to me. So I am fighting through the tears to share with you our loss of him.”