Iconic ’90s and Naughties performer, Hank Hightower has died at age 57. The news was confirmed by his longtime friend Jeff Yarbrough on Instagram.
Hank, also known as Henry Robert Hightower, was active in the gay male entertainment scene from 1993 to 2005 and amassed a large following during his career.
Remembered for more than just his great performances
Tributes have been paid via social media with hundreds of fans expressing how saddened they were to hear the news. Many herald Hank as the original muscle bear and a key component in their sexual awakenings.
In tributes, many note his pivot away from the industry in the 2000s when he devoted his time to animal rescues and animal welfare projects. His love for animals is well noted by his loved ones with Jeff Yarbrough making mention of it in the announcement of Hank’s death.
His statement reads:
“I was jolted awake by a text early this morning. One of the (few) special guys in my life lost a health battle today. Hank Hightower called me last Sunday to say so long. Hank and I lived large, hard, and fast at an appropriate time for all that – late 1990s – after a shit ton of our friends had died of AIDS. If you knew Hank then you knew of his love for canines. If his passing moves you, please send a donation this season to an animal rescue of your choosing. He did a lot of volunteering, and those nonjudgmental licks and hugs meant the world to him. One year he sold Christmas trees for a pug rescue. Imagine having Hank Hightower tie a fir tree to the roof of your car ❤️. Here is part of the text I got before sunrise: “I must inform you that Henry Robert Hightower passed away today, Nov. 1, 2023, at 3:30am. As per his wishes, he died at home surrounded by his two pups. He passed peacefully. Memorial details will be sent in a few weeks.”
Though the exact cause of his death is still unknown, announcements make it clear that Hank had been struggling for some time with ongoing health conditions. His mark on the industry and his legacy for kindness will be remembered fondly.