David Miranda: Gay Brazilian congressman who helped Edward Snowden blow whistle dies aged 37

Brazilian politician David Miranda died the day before his 38th birthday, with his husband Glenn Greenwood leading tributes.

Miranda passed away after being hospitalised nine months ago with a gastrointestinal infection.

His death on Tuesday morning (9 May) was announced by his husband, journalist Glenn Greenwood.

“He died in full peace, surrounded by our children and family and friends,” Greenwald wrote on Twitter, noting that his husband had spent time in intensive care.

The pair adopted two children together, and Greenwald said being a father was Miranda’s greatest pride and purpose.

“He was the most dedicated and loving parent. He taught me how to be a father. And our truly exceptional boys – with their own difficult start to life – [are] his greatest legacy.”

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Greenwald revealed on Wednesday (10 May) that the final song at Miranda’s wake was “Blessed We Are”, by American artist Peia, “because it was the music to which he [Miranda] awoke daily”.

He said the lyrics, which explore remembering “the sanctity and sacredness of our life and to honour its purpose”, captured Miranda’s essence.

President Lula leads tributes to David Miranda

Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, remembered Miranda by writing in a tweet that he was “a young man with an extraordinary trajectory who left too soon”.

Popular Brazilian rapper Emicida said: “Brazil lost a brave young man today, who, by fighting for his dreams, ended up liberating the dreams of many people as well.”

David Miranda’s life and career

As reported by the Guardian, Miranda was the first openly gay man elected to Rio de Janeiro’s city council (in 2017).

He was born in the city’s favelas, and was orphaned after his mother died when he was five years old.

Miranda played a key role in Edward Snowden’s 2013 global surveillance leaks, which involved him being detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for nine hours while carrying a thumb drive containing classified materials. Police used measures under the UK’s Terrorism Act to detain him – a decision ultimately ruled lawful in 2016, but incompatible with human rights.

During Mirada’s time as a member of Brazil’s congress, to which he was elected to in 2019, he was a staunch advocate for LBGTQ+ rights in the face of the far-right president at the time, Jair Bolsonaro.

The president was quoted as saying Brazil should not become a “gay tourism paradise”, to which Miranda then said about Bolsonaro: “This is not a head of state – this is a national disgrace. He is staining the image of our country in every imaginable way.”

Quoting local press, Mail Online gave the cause of death as pancreatitis and a gastrointestinal infection that progressed to septicemia [blood poisoning].

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