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The former publisher and longtime employee of The Advocate, Michael Phelps, was found dead at his Los Angeles home on February 10. He was 45.
Phelps started at the magazine in 1996. Both genial and tenacious, Phelps quickly rose in the ranks.
"Mike and I worked together for a remarkable 13 years," says The Advocate's current group publisher, Joe Landry. "Mike worked his way up from a salesperson to the publisher of The Advocate, the world's leader in gay news. He was truly humbled by having such a tremendous responsibility but never wavered in his commitment to the brand he held so dear. He will be sorely missed."
Phelps shared not just a name with a certain gold medal-winning athlete but also a commitment to fitness and athletics. He was also a philanthropist and an ardent supporter of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
"Professionally, as publisher of The Advocate, and personally, as a gay activist, Mike was a generous supporter of the center and many other LGBT organizations," says Jim Key, the LAGLC's chief public affairs officer. "He was also a dear friend. We both had our first river rafting experience last summer, to benefit the center, and just a few months ago we vowed to do it again this year."
Phelps was born in Kalamazoo, Mich., and is survived by his parents, Frances and Gerald Phelps; sister, Chris, and brothers, Stephen and Gregory. At press time, the cause of death was unknown and under investigation.