AceShowbiz - Carl Bean, the gospel star and minister behind Gay Pride anthem "I Was Born This Way", has died, aged 77.
The Maryland native, who founded the Unity Fellowship Church Movement, has passed away after suffering a lengthy illness.
"Archbishop Bean worked tirelessly for the liberation of the underserved and for LGBTQ people of faith and in doing so, helped many around the world find their way back to spirituality and religion," a statement from his church elders reads.
Born in 1944 and raised by his godparents after the death of his mother, he was sexually abused as a child and then rejected by his family for being gay.
He moved to New York City at the age of 16 to pursue a gospel singing career and worked with bandleader Alex Bradford.
He moved again to Los Angeles and formed the group Carl Bean and Universal Love, who were snapped up by Motown Records bosses.
He recorded the disco track "I Was Born This Way", which inspired Lady Gaga's 2011 song "Born This Way".
Bean also founded the Minority Aids Project, which offers care and treatment for low-income black and Latino HIV and Aids sufferers in Los Angeles in 1985 and, in 2019, he was honoured with an intersection, which was renamed Archbishop Carl Bean Square.
His memoir, "I Was Born This Way", was released last year (20).
He was thrilled his song became a major inspiration for GaGa. "I felt it was a great tribute, and it was the continuation of saving lives," he once said.