One of the first and influential voices of South Florida’s LGBT community has passed away.

Brad Casey died this week at Holy Cross Hospice after losing his fight with an aggressive liver tumor.

Casey, along with a few others of our community pioneers, started one of the area’s first gay publications, SCOOP. The magazine set the template for the many we see today at the bars and clubs in Wilton Manors. It featured stories on people in the community, addressed local issues and, of course, the bar ads that remain today.

Even though SCOOP stopped publishing long ago, Casey was still a familiar presence. They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If that’s true, he had all the hearts of people at Ramrod. He sold hotdogs outside the bar for years.

Social media is flooded with tributes to Casey, including from his friend Tim Martin, who wrote, “Brad meant so much to so many. He was a publishing giant in the gay community in his younger days with SCOOP magazine, and was one of the earliest sponsors of our fledgling gay softball league that would become the sports pillar that it is today as SFAAA. Later in life, he ran his own hot dog cart business outside our favorite local establishments. I will miss our late-night chats, my friend. Godspeed, Hot Dog Man.”

His sister, Kim, says the family is grieving but is comforted by their fun memories.

“He was just awesome. What stands out to me are the holidays. He was excited to see my grandkids. Brad would be so jovial. He would tell kids he saw Santa in his sleigh and have us go outside and say we’re gonna look for Santa.”

He was also a great friend to SFGN’s publisher, Norm Kent, who has written a tribute to his friend.