Over the weekend the gay community and the world lost the legendary Willi Ninji due to AIDS complications, he was 45 years old.
I was first introduced to Willi when I came across a copy of the 1990 documentary "Paris is Burning".
Long before Madonna put vogueing on the map Willi and the ball kids were perfecting their craft on the ballroom floor and taking home grand prizes.
Willi was one of the fortunate few to utilize his talent in the mainstream, choreographing for recording artists, videos, runway shows, and commercials.
I was never fortunate enough to know Willi personally, but when I lived in New York City I attended Club Escuelita regularly where he worked as a door man, and I got to witness the talent of Willi Ninja on the dance floor up close. If I could describe his unique gift in one word it would be "extraordinary".
It's amazing how a person's life can affect you even if you've never met.
It's incredibly hard for me to accept his death in the age of HAART therapy. It's just a painful reminder that HIV/AIDS is still taking lives and in many cases way too soon.
Willi your time on earth was truly legendary, you will be missed.
Read what others are saying about Willi Ninja: