Dirk Shafer, a model, actor, and fitness trainer, has been found dead in his car in West Hollywood on Thursday afternoon. He was 52.
The heartthrob, for gay men and straight women alike, was named Playgirl‘s “Man of the Year in 1992.
Police confirmed yesterday that a man was discovered dead in a Honda Civic sports couple, parked at Laurel between Fountain and Sunset.
His identification confirmed it was Shafer.
The Playgirl ‘Man Of The Year’ centerfold model made waves when he came out as gay in 1992 and was considered an icon to the gay community.
Shafer later reflected on his coming out in a 1995 mockumentary Man of the Year, which he both wrote and directed.
He won best film at the 2001 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for his film “Circuit”.
The coroner’s office said there were no signs of foul play and he appeared to have died of natural causes. Sources report he may have died of a heart attack.
Dirk Shafer’s apparent heart attack comes as a shock because he prided himself on his physique and was working as a Pilates and fitness trainer in West Hollywood at the time of his death.
Wilson Cruz, who appeared in My So Called Life, paid tribute to Dirk.
He wrote, “I just hugged you a few days ago and you looked so happy and well. I’ll miss your face, your energy, and your positive spirit. Thank you for all of your encouragement and the laughs, sweet man. I’ll never forget it or you.”
In recent years, Dirk concentrated on his fitness business, the Swapout Workout.
His celebrity clients included Katy Perry, Tiffanni Thiessen, Olympian Greg Louganis, James Garner, and Eric Mccormack.
In 2012, Shafer posed naked once more for Playgirl to mark 20 years since his centerfold.
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