Rainbow Flag Creator Gilbert Baker Dead at 65

3/31/2017 3:02 PM PDT

Rainbow Flag Creator Gilbert Baker Dies at 65

Breaking News

Gilbert Baker, the man who created the rainbow flag for gay pride, has died ... according to his close friend.

Gilbert was an openly gay man and civil rights activist. He created the flag for the 1978 Pride Festival in San Francisco. According to his website, Gilbert taught himself to sew at a young age after serving time in the army, and used those skills to make banners for gay and anti-war protest marches.

He was heavily involved within the San Francisco gay rights movement and had a close friendship with Harvey Milk.

Gilbert's friend and fellow activist, Cleve Jones, posted the news of his death, writing, "I am heartbroken. My dearest friend in the world is gone ... he gave me forty years of love and friendship. I can't stop crying. I love you forever Gilbert Baker." 

Cleve didn't say how Gilbert died. 

He was 65 years old.