News » Obituaries

Flamboyant NYC Celeb Ms Colombia Dead at 64

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Oct 5, 2018

Ms Colombia — also known as Oswaldo Gomez — has died at the age of 64, various New York City media outlets report.

Gothamist reported that the lifeless body of Ms Colombia was discovered in the early morning hours of Sept. 3 in the waters off the beach at Jacob Riis Park.

Another local publication, the Jackson Heights Post, described Ms Colombia as a "colorful and beloved figure," and recalled that the Jackson Heights resident was a frequent participant in events and Pride parades around New York City. That article also noted that the flamboyant performer had been profiled in the 2015 documentary series "No Your City."

In that segment, Ms. Colombia related how she came to the United States from Colombia in 1975. Her outlook on life changed in the 1980s, when she learned she was HIV positive.

"They ask me, are you homo? Are you gay, are you lesbian?" various publications quoted Ms Colombia as saying in the documentary series. "And I say, no, I am human being from another planet."

Foul play is not suspected, media outlets reported, though autopsy results have not as yet been made available.

Various New York City luminaries spoke fondly of her, including "No Your City" filmmaker Nicholas Heller. "She was seriously one of a kind," Heller told the media. "Everywhere she went she was the center of attention. Everyone loved her. New York lost a legend today."

"Always smiling and full of joy, Ms Colombia was a true New York icon, and one of my favorite people to photograph," Gothamist quoted Daniel Albanese, who had frequently photographed Ms Colombia during her public appearances, as saying. "At any given parade, even in sea of dazzling costumes, Ms Colombia always stood out. People flocked around her, amazed at her unconventional use of fashion, as well as the assortment of animals that usually accompanied her to events." Albanese has made a collection of his photos of Ms Colombia available at his site, The Dusty Rebel.

A vigil in Ms Colombia's memory is scheduled for Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. EST at the Jackson Heights Post Office, reported QNS. The vigil was announced by Council Member Daniel Dromm, who told the press, "While life did not always treat Ms. Colombia with all the respect she was due, New Yorkers will remember Ms. Colombia as a hero to everyone."

Dromm and Ms Colombia had both marched in the inaugural Queens Pride Parade in 1993, various articles noted.

"Her cheerfulness and ability to bring a smile to the faces of all who met her will be missed by all New Yorkers," Dromm said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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