October 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Activist Phil Pannell hospitalized
Phillip Pannell, gay news, Washington Blade

Longtime activist Phil Pannell collapsed Wednesday at a ceremony with the mayor. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Veteran gay rights and Ward 8 community activist Phil Pannell was said to be resting comfortably and in stable condition on Wednesday after he became ill while attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier in the day led by Mayor Vincent Gray and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

A spokesperson for United Medical Center in Southeast D.C. said Pannell, who was admitted to the hospital’s emergency room, was undergoing tests and that an update on his condition would be released sometime later.

Pannell was among several dozen people, including city officials, attending a public ceremony celebrating the near completion of G8WAY DC, a newly built park and pavilion facility located on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. The facility will become home to retail and food vendors and will host community events and entertainers, according to a statement released by the mayor’s office.

People attending the event said Pannell appeared to lose his balance while standing near the stage. They said he was caught while falling by someone standing near him and a call was placed for help from the city’s Emergency Medical Services division of the Fire Department.

Pannell has been a prominent LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist in D.C. for more than 30 years. He’s also a widely recognized community and civic leader in Ward 8, where he has played a leading role in projects and programs to boost economic development and social services in sections of the city east of the Anacostia River.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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