How did Michael Gamilla die? LGBTQ activist cause of death and obituary

Michael Gamilla
Michael Gamilla, 55


Michael Gamilla, a long-time advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community, passed away. Let’s see how did the LGBTQ activist die and his cause of death in detail.

How did Michael Gamilla die?

Michael Gamilla, who served as ImageOut’s program director for 20 years passed away this week. He died after a valiant battle with cancer.

Gamilla has kept friends and coworkers updated on his health since his leukemia diagnosis in 2021 through candid and often philosophic posts on Facebook, where he also reports his daily Wordle score.

From his hospital bed, Gamilla programmed the last two ImageOut festivals. Eastman School of Music librarian Gerry Szymanski claimed that Gamilla used her contacts around the world to give Rochester access to significant foreign films.

He is well-known for bringing worldwide attention to the festival and for being a prominent voice in the LGBTQ+ community.

What happened to Gamilla?

Gamilla, an LGBTQ activist passed away from cancer on Thursday, 09 March 2023. The Little Theatre announced the death of Gamilla by sharing the following statement on social media.

“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of our friend Michael Gamilla, ImageOut Programming Director, Board Member, and an integral (always stylish) part of the Rochester film community. Thank you for the films, friendship, and fabulousness.”

Who was Michael Gamilla?

Gamilla was born in Manila, the Philippines and later immigrated to the US with her family as an adult.

According to those who knew him, he believed that ImageOut’s purpose depended on exposing Rochester audiences to LGBTQ+ experiences around the world.

According to ImageOut Managing Director Braden Reese, “That is Michael’s legacy—really bringing us diverse films that tell all of the tales, all of the different LGBTQ+ experiences, and bringing us those foreign films.”

“It’s an incredible legacy that I know ImageOut as an organization looks forward to carrying on in his memory and in his honor.”

In 2003, Gamilla took a volunteer job as the programme director of ImageOut and quickly made a name for himself as a great leader.

Michael Gamilla was the Programming Director of Upstate New York’s ImageOut Rochester LGBT Film Festival for nearly two decades.

His enthusiasm to volunteer for the Film Festival for the past 15 years has been equally fueled by his love of movies and his desire to support the LGBTQ community.

He has participated in foreign jury panels for the Frameline San Francisco, Inside Out Toronto, TLVfest Tel Aviv, and Berlinale (Teddy Awards).

Michael Gamilla cause of death:

Michael Gamilla died after a courageous two-year battle with leukemia. He was only 55. Tributes flooded social media after the demise news of Gamilla broke out.

He was an important person in LGBTQ community. Gamilla was part of a local documentary, “Shoulders to Stand On,” and in this, he spoke about the significance of the tight-knit community that ImageOut served.

Gamilla was nominated to be the Grand Marshall for the Pride parade by the Rochester Pride Festival committee, but he was too sick to participate in the July event.

His friends and co workers has posted their condolences on the social media.

Tributes to Gamilla:

Sam Brett posted,

Very heartbroken to hear the passing of my beloved friend Michael Gamilla. We navigated similar oceans and ran into each other a lot while volunteering on different projects. However, i cherish the most all the times spent together watching the miss universe pageant every year (and miss world, and miss grand, ALL the pageants!!!!)

Raymond Alikpala posted,

Michael Gamilla, Ateneo batchmate, great advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community and a dear dear friend, has passed on after a valiant two-year battle with leukaemia, which he openly shared with us his friends. This world had lost a giant of a man, and we are all truly diminished by the passing of this incredibly generous, absolutely fabulous, and deeply loving man. I am blessed to have been his friend, and I will carry his irreplaceable memory in my heart for the rest of my life.

Monroe County Executive Adam J. Bello posted,

Michael Gamilla was a pillar of our community, perhaps best known for his work as the programming director for ImageOut. His bright light cast a glow on all those around him. A fashion icon, a champion of LGBTQIA+ rights and culture and a beautiful soul – his energy and enthusiasm were limitless. My heart is with all those who love him today.

Rebecca rafferty tweeted,

A heavy loss felt throughout Rochester’s arts community this week. Michael Gamilla, who brought global LGBTQ+ stories to Rochester audiences in his 20-year role as program director for @ImageOut, died this week.

Scotty Ginett tweeted,

When lyrics apply to life, but then become so much more personally applicable- within the same hour as reading and posting them… how apt, how fitting those words were, and are. Missing the joyful, illuminating presence of Michael Gamilla. Absolutely heartbroken.


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