Gay ‘Man of the Year’ star Dirk Shafer dies aged 52

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Former actor and Playgirl cover star Dirk Shafer has died, aged 52.

Mr Shafer was found dead in his car in West Hollywood on Thursday.

The model – who was Playgirl’s Man of the Year in 1992 – came to prominence when he came out as gay in the mid-90s, before directing a film based on his journey in 1995.

The mockumentary ‘Man of the Year’ features Shafer as a fictional version of himself, struggling to reconcile his sex symbol status with his identity as a gay man.

The cause of death is not known, but according to the coroner’s office foul play is not suspected. Mr Shafer has more recently been working as a fitness trainer.

Will & Grace star Eric McCormack wrote: “Lost a good man today. #DirkShafer dear pal and awesome trainer for 17 years. Sending love to his family and so many friends. Be at peace, D.”