Fans mourn the death of Kevin Conroy, Batman’s gay link for 30 glorious years

It’s a sad day in Gotham City, and for superhero fans around the world who’ve grown up watching Batman cartoons over the last three decades.

Kevin Conroy, the out and proud voice actor who played the Caped Crusader in scores of Warner Bros. productions beginning with Batman: The Animated Series from 1992 to 1996, has died at the age of 66.

While Conroy may be most associated with Bruce Wayne and Batman canon, the Julliard-trained actor appeared in live action TV shows in the ’80s like Dynasty, Tour of Duty and Ohara. He also starred in the 1988 Broadway drama Eastern Standard, playing a TV producer secretly living with AIDS.

Related: We’ve had a gay superhero all along thanks to Kevin Conroy

It’s a role that hit especially close to home, and one he felt a duty to give his all. “I went to so many funerals that I felt such a sense of obligation to do it right,” he told the New York Times in 2016.

But it’s no surprise he’ll forever be remembered as Batman. From 1992 until this year, Conroy voiced the character in close to 60 productions including 15 films and even a few video games. He was also quite popular at comic conventions, and always happy to connect with fans.

Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker opposite Conroy’s Batman, sung his praises while mourning the loss.

“Kevin was perfection,” Hamill said in a statement. “He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”

Related: Twitter explodes after learning–yes–Batman is gay

Though he’d been out for many years, many fans only discovered Conroy was gay in April of this year, when DC Comics announced the creative minds behind its Pride Anthology, a series of stories penned by high-profile LGBTQ authors and drawn by famous queer artists centered around the label’s LGBTQ characters.

Conroy was among them, and wrote the story “Finding Batman,” a deeply personal portrayal of his tragic childhood and experience as a gay actor.

Queer fans celebrated the thoughtful show of inclusion, and Conroy’s raw openness.  This year, Conroy was honored as part of Queerty’s Pride50 for his contributions to queer representation in entertainment.

Here’s how fans are paying their respects to the ‘GOAT,’ aka greatest of all time:

Related: We’ve had a gay superhero all along thanks to Kevin Conroy

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