By Christopher Mangum

Originally published on Advocate.com December 23 2009 1:00 AM ET

A number of notable LGBT individuals and allies passed away in 2009. This year we mourned the loss of beloved politicians, performers, writers, and activists who contributed to our community through work and charity. While no list can include all of the influential people, we offer the following as a tribute to some of those who will be missed in 2010.

Bea Arthur: The Emmy and Tony award-winning actress best known for her role as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls, who died April 25 at age 86, bequeathed $300,000 to the Ali Forney Center, an organization for homeless LGBT youths. 

2009 OBITS ARTHUR X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

Gene Barry: A popular American TV actor who was nominated for a Tony award for originating the role of Georges, the gay nightclub owner, in the popular stage musical La Cage aux Folles, Barry died December 9 at age 90.

2009 OBITS BARRY X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

Merce Cunningham: Widely considered one of America’s greatest dancers and most innovative choreographers, and longtime partner of composer John Cage, Cunningham died July 26 at age 90.

2009 OBITS CUNNINGHAM X390 (AP) | ADVOCATE.COM

Dominick Dunne: The bisexual author, movie producer, and regular Vanity Fair contributor was working on his final book, Too Much Money, upon his death August 26 at age 83.

2009 OBITS DUNNE X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Stephen Gately: The singer in the Irish pop group Boyzone lived with his partner, Andrew Cowles, and was working on a children's novel until his death October 10 at the age of 33.

2009 OBITS GATELY X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Keith Goddard: The director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, who fought homophobia in the African nation, died October 9 at age 49.

2009 OBITS GODDARD X390 ( Fiona Mcdougall/ One World Photo KRT) | ADVOCATE.COM

E. Lynn Harris: The out author of Invisible Life and Just Too Good to Be True, among many others, considered a pioneering voice among black LGBT writers, died July 24 at age 54.

2009 OBITS HARRIS X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Howard Jacobs: The chairman of the board of Being Alive, HIV/AIDS activist, and West Hollywood City Hall staffer lost his battle with HIV November 11 at age 45.

2009 OBITS JACOBS X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

Ted Kennedy: U.S. senator from Massachusetts for 46 years, the advocate for LGBT equality and HIV funding died August 25 of brain cancer at age 77.

2009 OBITS KENNEDY X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Mark Leduc: The gay Canadian boxer and silver medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games died July 22 at age 47.

2009 OBITS LEDUC X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

Rodger McFarlane: The first executive director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the former head of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, McFarlane was a consummate HIV activist. He committed suicide May 15 at age 54.

2009 OBITS MCFARLANE X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

Kevin McGee: The British television producer and former civil partner of Little Britain star Matt Lucas died, an apparent suicide, October 5 at age 32.

2009 OBITS MCGEE X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Mike Penner: The noted Los Angeles Times sports columnist, who announced his gender transition in 2007 and began using the byline Christine Daniels, died, apparently by suicide, November 27 at age 52.

2009 OBITS PENNER X390 (JASON SMITH) | ADVOCATE.COM

Natasha Richardson: The star of screen and stage, also a dedicated supporter of the American Foundation for AIDS Research following her father Tony Richardson's death from AIDS-related causes in 1991, died March 18 at age 45.

2009 OBITS RICHARDSON X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick: The author of Epistemology of the Closet, hailed as a pioneer of queer studies, was finishing her latest article, "Proust and the Little Queer Gods," when she died April 12 at age 58.

2009 OBITS SEDGWICK X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

Donn Teal: The noted activist who in 1971 wrote The Gay Militants, widely considered the first history of the gay liberation movement, died February 3 at age 76.

2009 OBITS TEAL X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Jack Wrangler: The actor and eventual cabaret producer who was considered a superstar of '70s-era gay porn and surprised many with his decades-long relationship with singer Margaret Whiting died of complications from lung disease April 7 at age 62.