Categories: LocalNews

Gay man’s death ruled suicide


The D.C. Medical Examiner’s office disclosed Monday that Mark Gower, the 26-year-old gay man found dead in his apartment in the city’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood last month, took his own life.

“The cause is suffocation and the manner is suicide,” Beverly Fields, a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s office, told the Blade.

Fields said her office could not release any further details other than that Gower’s body has been released to his family.

Police found Gower’s body in his apartment July 22, two weeks after friends and family members were unable to reach him. A police spokesperson said there were no outward signs of injuries or a violent act.

Gower, a native of Oregon, worked as an employee of the Sephora cosmetics store in Reston, Va. and was a part-time dancer at Secrets, a D.C. gay nightclub.

During an Aug. 6 memorial service held at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters, friends described Gower as a bright, deeply caring and complex person who always seemed to put the feelings and concerns of others before his own.

Two friends noted that Gower had been suffering from depression, but many people did not know that because of his outwardly bright and cheery personality.

“He was fun, he was quirky. There were many Marks,” said Tim White, a friend who organized the memorial service.

Friends and family members said Gower graduated from Portland State University at age 19 through an accelerated studies program. He began his career as a government loan officer in Hawaii, friends said, and worked in D.C. in the personnel field at an executive search firm before joining the staff of Sephora cosmetics.

His job at Secrets was described as a lark by some of his friends, who said it was part of his fun-loving and adventurous side.

“He was one of the most complex, kind people I’ve ever met,” said Dustin Hawthorne, a fellow Secrets dancer. “Other people’s feelings always came first. To his family, thank you for giving us Mark.”