Eddie Weingart, who had been a D.C.-based massage therapist and anti-gun violence advocate, died on Jan. 11. Weingart, who had been open about a lifelong battle with depression, committed suicide. He was 39.
Weingart was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 20, 1978 and lived in Southern California most of his life. He moved to the Washington area from Virginia Beach in early 2011 after two years living there.
Weingart worked as a massage therapist since 1998 and specialized in deep-tissue work, sports massage, Swedish massage, reflexology, reiki, tandem four-hand therapy, hot stones, trigger point work and more. He did house calls and worked in his own home studio.
He credited massage with helping him recover from a serious auto accident in 2001. He won the Washington Blade Best of Gay D.C. awards in the “best massage” category in 2013 and 2015; he was runner-up in 2014. At the time, he told the Blade he felt “incredibly honored to win.”
“I take my practice very seriously and my client’s wellness is always my top priority,” Weingart said in a 2015 Blade interview. “Winning again tells me that my hard work has paid off.”
Weingart battled depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing at age 2 his mother shot and killed by his stepfather, an event his family said he remembered. He was raised by his father, Rocky, and his father’s partner, Bob.
In December 2012 after the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Weingart helped found Project End Gun Violence with David Jeffrey Horowitz and others.
“I can’t begin to imagine the pain he carried from that tragedy,” Horowitz said referring to Weingart’s mother’s murder. “He was committed to preventing others from experiencing pain due to gun violence despite the tragic impact it had on his own life.”
Horowitz called him a “gentle soul who touched many people” and “was a friend and co-warrior in the fight.”
Michael Eisinger met Weingart at a vigil for the Pulse nightclub shooting victims in Dupont Circle in 2016 and said they became close friends immediately.
“One of the most selfless people I’ve ever met,” Eisinger said in a tribute to his friend on Facebook. “Always there to crack a joke, greet you with a giant smile and a hug and always, always, always there when you needed someone to talk to.”
Weingart was previously in a relationship with Paul Mills, also a massage therapist. They met in 2008, were engaged in 2012 and broke up in 2015. They lived together in Silver Spring, Md.
Weingart’s father was gay. Weingart was a caregiver to his late father and his father’s partner near the end of their lives, friends said.
Weingart enjoyed travel, collecting vinyl records, movies, reading, photography and meditation. He told the Blade seeing Madonna’s “Blond Ambition Tour” was a highly memorable experience. He was honored for his advocacy work with the “Be the Change” Award he won in 2013 from the Washington Peace Center.
He was also active in Dignity Washington, a local LGBT Roman Catholic group and had been on its board and in other Dignity committees. He traveled with the group attending various national conferences.
He was also a colon cancer survivor. He also loved pets, especially the dog and two cats he and Mills had.
He is survived by his grandmother, Joanna Weingart; uncles Michael and David Weingart; Aunt Mendi Shelton; cousins Wesley, Kenneth, Orion, Mathis, Amber, Payton, Landon, Austin, Vanessa and Brittney.
A memorial service is being planned but details were not available as of Wednesday.