WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen, 41, died unexpectedly Tuesday night.
Tuesday night around 10 p.m., a spokesperson for the city of Wilton Manors confirmed the news of the passing of Flippen while waiting for next of kin to be notified. Those close to him said he suffered a “medical episode.”
The official statement from the city of Wilton Manors:
“We are deeply saddened to share that Mayor Justin Flippen passed away earlier this evening. We ask that everyone respect Mayor Flippen’s memory, family members, friends, and our entire community that is mourning by allowing the City to provide official information via our website (www.wiltonmanors.com), as well as the city’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Details, on when and how our community may come together to honor the life and legacy of Mayor Flippen, will be shared as they become available,” said Leigh Ann Henderson, City Manager of Wilton Manors."
When Tuesday’s city commission meeting began just after 7 p.m., it was announced that the mayor could not attend. After about 35 minutes, a recess was called. Soon after, the commission returned and adjourned the meeting due to an emergency. Flippen never made it to Tuesday night’s meeting.
Flippen was City Commissioner before being elected mayor in 2018. Active in the community, Flippen became a member of the Wilton Manors-based Dolphin Democrats in 1997 and served as president from 2008 to 2009, overseeing the growth of the club to over 400 members. Justin was also a member of the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus.
A graduate of Coconut Creek High School, Broward College, and Florida Atlantic University, he became Florida’s first openly-gay student body president at FIU, as well as serving as an intern for U.S. Senator Bob Graham.
He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law.
Officials have been posting condolences on social media.
Like all of us who knew him, I am devastated by the news of Justin Flippen’s passing. Justin was a fine public servant, a wonderful person, and a dear friend. My thoughts are with his family as we all mourn this tragic loss. May Justin rest in peace. https://t.co/eL7Woc4xFR— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) February 26, 2020
Justin Flippen was an extraordinary public servant who cared so deeply about the community he loved. His passing represents a tremendous loss for all who knew and respected him in Broward and beyond. May his family find peace in this difficult time. https://t.co/zV3akhcpVj— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) February 26, 2020
I am heartbroken at news of the passing of Wilton Manors Mayor @justinflippen. In 2010, Justin was the first LGBTQ candidate for public office I ever volunteered to knock on doors for. We all looked up to him as a trailblazer for our community. May he rest in power! 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/NHHh5l1MNL— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) February 26, 2020
Sad and stunning news from Wilton Manors. RIP Mayor Justin Flippen, you were a great public servant.— Bill Ganz (@DFB_MayorGanz) February 26, 2020