Gay man who ‘put the weight of the world on his shoulders’ after Pulse massacre loses battle with cancer
Terry DeCarlo, who helped guide Florida’s LGBT+ community through the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting, has died ahed 57.
On June 12, 2016, a man laid siege to an Orlando gay club nestled between a Dunkin’ Doughnuts and a Wendy’s, killing 49 and wounding dozens.
It became the deadliest attack on the LGBT+ community in decades, raising a spectre of violence that haunted the community for years since.
DeCarlo became a hero and leader to many of the survivors and locals.
However, his husband of 22 years, Bill Huelsman, said on Facebook that DeCarlo died Monday night of cancer complications, the Associated Press reported.
‘Terry DeCarlo put the weight of the world on his shoulders after Pulse’, says Pulse survivor.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to post this. But I need to let everyone know that I lost the love of my life last night,” Huelsman wrote.
“The cancer was just too aggressive for treatment.”
Countless community leaders, LGBT+ activists, lawmakers and loved ones shared tribute for DeCarlo on Twitter.
Brandon Wolf, one of the survivors of the Pulse shooting, tweeted that DeCarlo “put the weight of the world on his shoulders after Pulse – when it get like everything was falling apart – held out community together.”
Terry DeCarlo put the weight of the world on his shoulders after Pulse and – when it felt like everything was falling apart – held our community together.
Today, we lost him to cancer. But his legacy will always live on. FOREVER Orlando Strong. ? pic.twitter.com/yWUWWqSu9c
— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) January 28, 2020
OnePulse Foundation – a non-profit set-up by a pocket of survivors – also said that members are “heartbroken by the passing of our dear friend.”
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. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his husband Bill and his entire family. pic.twitter.com/v85fxtMrTX
— onePULSE Foundation (@onePULSEorg) January 28, 2020
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State representative Carlos Smith tweeted: “My heart is broken with the news of Terry DeCarlo’s passing.
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
“Terry was a lifelong advocate for LGBTQ Floridians and he led Orlando through the aftermath of Pulse when we needed him most.”