Last year, Blake Brockington, a senior at East Mecklenburg High in Charlotte, NC, was on top of the world.
The 18-year-old was the first openly transgender teenager ever to be crowned homecoming king in the city of Charlotte in February 2014.
Now, one year later, friends and community members are mourning the loss of Brockington after he committed suicide earlier this week.
Brockington’s death was confirmed on Tuesday morning by Time Out Youth Center, a local LGBT advocacy group which the young man was connected to. The exact details surrounding his death have not been made public.
Brockington came out as trans his sophomore year of high school, moving in with a foster family shortly thereafter. Since being crowned homecoming king, he spoke at last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event and helped organize public rallies and other grassroots campaigns to raise awareness around issues like police brutality and violence.
According to a National Center for Transgender Equality survey, almost half of transgender youth and adults in the United States have attempted suicide at some point during their lives. Bullying and discrimination are often cited as reasons for the high rate of suicides, experts say.
Brockington’s death is the second suicide committed by a trans person in the Charlotte area in less than a month. Ash Haffner, another Charlotte teen who struggled with gender identity, died last month after walking into the path of a moving car.
No memorial service for Brockington has been announced.