Former U.S. Rep Gerry Studds died early on Saturday. He was 69.
Studds had been admitted to the hospital on October 3rd after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband Dean Hara told the Boston Globe.
Hara said the reason for the hospitalization was a blood clot in Studds’ lung.
“[After being hospitalized] Studds regained consciousness and seemed to be improving. He was to be transferred to a rehabilitation center, but his condition deteriorated on Friday because of a second blood clot and he died at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. Hara, who married Studds shortly after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004, said doctors were not immediately sure where the second blood clot originated.”
Studds represented Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford, and the South Shore for 12 terms. In 1983, when a former Congressional page went public with an affair he had with Studds ten years earlier when the page was 17, Studds came out publicly. Studds was censured after defending his relationship with the page as one that was consensual, but survived the scandal.
While in Congress, Studds fought heavily for gay rights, marriage, and AIDS issues and marine protection environmental programs. After retiring in 1997, Studds became a lobbyist for the fishing industry. The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, was named for Studds when he retired from Congress to recognize the work he had done on behalf of marine issues.
Said Hara of his husband, the long-serving congressman: “He gave people of his generation, or my generation, of future generations, the courage to do whatever they wanted to do.”