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Andrew Anthos, whose dream was to light up the Michigan state capitol dome in red, white, and blue, died Friday of injuries sustained in a February 13 hate beating.
Though Anthos, 72, was visiting with friends as recently as Wednesday, his condition declined rapidly in the past two days and he was administered the last rites late Thursday in Detroit Receiving Hospital.
The attack, which left Anthos paralyzed from the neck down and virtually without speech, shocked the gay community, which reached out to his family with love and support--as well as anger and a resolve for justice.
"So many people want to pay their respects," Anthos's niece, Athena Fedenis, told Gay.com on Friday, adding that she considers the gay people who've offered to help "like family. He will not have died in vain."
Anthos, known to loved ones as "Buddy," was gay and biracial, being of half-black, half-white ancestry, Fedenis said. He had been riding the bus that evening from the public library back to his Detroit apartment when another passenger annoyed with his singing approached him and asked if he was gay.
Anthos left the bus and helped a wheelchair-bound fellow passenger through the snow, only to be followed by the assailant, who hit him in the back of the head with a metal pipe and fled.
Washington, D.C.-based gay rights group Human Rights Campaign has offered to pay for Anthos's funeral, Fedenis said.
The wheelchair-using friend was able to provide some information in what now becomes a homicide investigation, Detroit police detective Sgt. Ryan Lovier said. But police still seek potential witnesses aboard the bus, which would have arrived at the stop near Detroit's Windsor Towers apartments roughly between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
The assailant is described as a light-skinned black man, no more than 23 years old, about 5 foot 7 and 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and pants, Lovier said. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)