A gay man has been found murdered in Baltimore, Maryland.
Brendon Thomas Michaels, a 43-year-old fitness instructor, was discovered dead in his home by police officers and firefighters on November 8.
Detective Jeremy Silbert of the Baltimore Police Department told the Washington Blade that Michaels’ death had been ruled a homicide after the Medical Examiner’s Office reported that the victim died from blunt force trauma, according to local outlet WBFF.
Silbert added: “After a concerned co-worker of the victim hadn’t heard from him, they were able to get in touch with someone who had access to his apartment.”
The gay man worked at local Baltimore institution Carroll Community College for two decades, after graduating from the college with a degree in arts and sciences in 1998.
According to an obituary posted by Fletcher Funeral & Cremation Services, Michaels was “the sparkle in the life of everyone who knew him.”
The murdered fitness instructor also worked as a waiter at a local Olive Garden, where he was reportedly affectionately known as “the diva with the tray.”
He “loved making others smile and enjoyed Orioles baseball games, performing, singing, dancing, scratch-offs and was a very hard worker,” the obituary added.
Police officers in Baltimore have not yet identified a motive or made any arrests in connections with the gay man’s death.
Tributes pour in for murdered gay man
Carroll Community College’s President, Dr James Ball, said in a statement that “we are extraordinarily sad to hear about the passing of our beloved friend and staff member Brendon Michaels.
“Brendon was a vibrant and well-respected member of the College community for over 20 years. He graduated from Carroll in 1998 with an AA Degree in Arts and Sciences and began working for us shortly after graduation.
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“He was high-energy, passionate about fitness and always willing to help anyone in need.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Brendon will be truly missed and will never be forgotten,” added Ball.
Friends and loved ones have been posting tributes to Michaels on Facebook and his obituary page, with one well-wisher, Stephanie Haines, writing: “I am shocked and sadden that Brendon was taken from this world in such a tragic way.
“His big smile and bright personality will be forever missed.”
“Brendon will be truly missed and will never be forgotten.”
— Dr James Ball
A colleague called Abby L. Fletcher said: “I feel extremely lucky to have worked with Brendon and have been his friend. We had many good times together and it saddens me to know I’ll no longer see you.
“Brendon, you touched so many and brought a smile to many faces even when there was nothing to smile about. You will be missed, Diva! Rest easy my dear friend.💔”
Linda Taggart wrote that she will “always remember Brendon and his love of the theatre. Brendon had season tickets to Centre Stage with many of us here at Maryland Public Television.
“He was the most cheerful and fun person you ever could meet. He will be sorely missed and our dinners before the theatre, just not the same.”