Lifelong activist and musician Patrick Haggerty has died.

The country band Lavender Country revealed the frontman had died at the age of 78 with a statement on their Instagram.

They wrote, “This morning, we lost a great soul. RIP Patrick Haggerty.”

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They continued, “After suffering a stroke several weeks ago, he was able to spend his final days at home surrounded by his kids and lifelong husband, JB.
Love, and solidarity. 💜💜💜”

Lavender Country is widely believed to be the first openly gay country band, recording their debut album Lavender Country in 1973. It was brought back into the spotlight when label Paradise of Bachelors rereleased it in 2014. The group stood out in a genre that was more restrictive back in the ’70s and still faces issues of diversity.

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Haggerty released a second album for the group alone titled Blackberry Rose in 2019, which Don Giovanni Records rereleased earlier this year.

“Patrick Haggerty was one of the funniest, kindest, bravest, and smartest people I ever met,” Don Giovanni Records wrote in a statement to their Instagram.

They continued, “He never gave up fighting for what he believed in, and those around him who he loved and took care of will continue that fight.”

Paradise of Bachelors also honoured the star in a statement, writing “He was more than a hero; he was also a friend, mentor, comrade, and fatherly figure for us and our families. He was hilarious too; it was always an adventure spending time with him.”

Haggerty was an outspoken activist for various causes, including gay rights, anti-racist justice, tenants’ rights and many more. He was inspired after seeing the Stonewall riots in the summer of 1969. He even ran for a city council position twice.

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