Longtime LGBT Advocate Terry DeCarlo Dies
Longtime champion of Orlando’s LGBT community Terry DeCarlo has died. DeCarlo, who was 56, helped lead the community through the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. He had been receiving treatment for stage four face and neck cancer.
DeCarlo’s husband Bill Huelsman shared the news in a post on DeCarlo’s facebook page.
Tributes on social media included posts from state lawmaker Carlos Guillermo Smith (D- Orlando) and Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was chief of the Orlando police at the time of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
My heart is broken with the news of Terry DeCarlo’s passing. Terry was a lifelong advocate for LGBTQ Floridians and he led Orlando through the aftermath of Pulse when we needed him most. This is a terrible loss for our community. Sending strength to his husband, Bill. 💔🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/JAYRg3SC7p
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) January 28, 2020
So sorry to hear about the loss of @Terry_DeCarlo . My heart goes out to his family and friends. Always grateful for his help and leadership after tragedy struck our community. pic.twitter.com/4jl19RjnOE
— Sheriff John Mina (@SheriffMina) January 28, 2020
The OnePulse Foundation said DeCarlo left “a powerful legacy”.
We are heartbroken by the passing of our dear friend Terry DeCarlo. Terry was a passionate advocate for Florida’s LGBTQ community and leaves behind a powerful legacy. We are forever grateful to him for helping our community heal and move forward following the Pulse nightclub tragedy. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his husband Bill and his entire family.
At the time of the Pulse nightclub shooting, DeCarlo was the executive director of The Center, a non-profit advocacy organization for Orlando’s LGBT community. In an interview with WMFE’s Intersection in 2018, DeCarlo said after the shooting, The Center became a place for people to seek comfort and answers.
“Everybody, their eyes opened, and they said ‘Wow, that’s what that does. That’s what that’s there for. It’s there to help the community.’ And it took on a new role. I mean, where we were a little place on Mills Avenue, the next day we were known worldwide.”
He said The Center was there for the whole community.
DeCarlo left The Center in 2018.
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