The hashtag #RIPREESE was trending on Twitter on Tuesday after it was reported that Maurice “Reese Him Daddie” Willoughby, 20, died by suicide following the harassment he received for dating a trans woman.
His tragic death comes after a video of Willoughby went viral showing him being bullied for his relationship with a trans woman named Faith. According to initial reports, Reese killed himself due to the bullying, but his girlfriend confirmed on Instagram Live that he died of an overdose after threatening to kill them both.
In the clip, Willoughby is harassed on the streets of Philadelphia by a group of males who mock him for preferring transgender women. After the video went viral, Reese took to Facebook to defend his girlfriend.
“Y’all can say whatever about faith I really don’t care if she not passable I don’t care if she wasn’t born a woman she is a woman to me & I love her flaws that’s what makes her faith if you heard her story it’s motivating….. I’m happy you should be happy for me,” Willoughby wrote online, as reported by The Advocate.
Now his friends are speaking out, saying that after the video went viral, he became depressed.
“That was my friend and everyone who took part in bulling him need to be in jail,” wrote Amethyst Jade Lee in a Facebook post.
A friend, who chose to remain anonymous, told Aazios: “Where we are from, if you like trans woman, and you black, the streets will talk about you, fight you, even try to kill you. He was dealing with a lot.”
However, according to a statement by the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Willoughby did not kill himself over the harassment. The organization reported that Faith said he threatened to carry out a murder-suicide — killing her and then himself. When she fled to safety, he then overdosed on drugs.
“Our deepest condolences to Faith and also to Reese’s family. This is a time to mourn for a lost life and support Faith during this difficult time in her life. She is a survivor of abuse and as stated on her Instagram page, a woman who lost her lover. Black women are always mourning and caring for the world while trying to keep ourselves alive. Our love and support to Faith,” the organization said.
Meanwhile, tributes continue to pour in from friends and family on social media.