PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Former Silverton Mayor Stu Rasmussen, who was the nation’s first openly transgender mayor, passed away around 11 a.m. Wednesday from metastatic prostate cancer after spending several weeks in home hospice.

In 2008, Rasmussen was featured in People Magazine and on Good Morning America after he gained international attention when he became the nation’s first transgender mayor.

“He set an example for members of our community who needed to see that it was safe to live their lives openly in our community,” said the current mayor of Silverton, Kyle Palmer.

The mayor was also the main subject in a Seattle stage production titled “Stu for Silverton” which highlighted an incident after Rasmussen’s 2008 election where the Westboro Baptist Church protested his lifestyle. A large crowd of demonstrators wearing dresses countered the protestors in support of Stu and demanded the protestors leave.

Rasmussen was Silverton’s mayor in 1988, before he worked as a City Councilor and Library Board Member. He was elected to City Council in 2004 before returning as Silverton’s mayor in 2009 until 2014 when Rick Lewis was elected.

“Although citizens can debate their support or lack of support for some of those visions, the time for those conversations has long passed,” Mayor Palmer said. “His volume of service to city government, his role as a longtime downtown business owner, and his impact on the LGBTQ population in Silverton and beyond leaves a huge legacy behind.”