Former BBC journalist, Liz MacKean, who broke the news of the shocking torture of gay men in Russia, has died.
She died at the age of 52 after a sudden stroke, reports the BBC.
Liz and her partner of 22 years, Donna Rowlands, had two children. The couple married as soon as the law allowed.
MacKean worked on Channel 4’s Dispatches program, where she produced the groundbreaking documentary, Hunted.
In it, she goes behind the scenes to expose Russian people hunting gay men through hook-up apps.
‘There’s a hunting season,’ she told the BBC. ‘And gay men are the hunted.’
She continued: ‘There are gangs at work across Russia and probably the most violent of them is a group called Occupy Pedophilia.
‘As far as they’re concerned, there is no difference at all between a homosexual and a pedophilia. So using that blurred distinction as a justification, they go, as they say, on safari.
‘That involves using social media to lure gay men to apartments – perhaps the offer of a date – and these men are then assaulted,’ she said.
She then explained she was present while 13 people attacked and tortured a gay man.
She continued: ‘There’s a uniform atmosphere of oppression.’
MacKean also produced a documentary on the rise of Christian fundamentalist groups in America.
Hunted: Gay and Afraid looks into claims that US-based group the World Congress of Families uses its pro-family message to support anti-gay legislation in Russia, even lobbying the Slovakian government to pass new laws curtailing the rights of the gay community.
MacKean also broke news of disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile on sex abuse charges.
She also won Stonewall’s Journalist of the Year award in 2014.
Tributes pour in for Liz MacKean
BBC director of news James Harding paid tribute to MacKean, saying she had earned a reputation as a ‘remarkably tenacious and resourceful reporter.’
He said: ‘In Northern Ireland, she won the trust of all sides and produced some of the most insightful and hard-hitting reporting of the conflict.’
‘It was as an investigative reporter that she really shone, shining a light on issues from the dumping of toxic waste off the African coast to Jimmy Savile, the story for which she is probably best known,’ he said.
Tributes on Twitter also flooded in for the remarkable journalist.
RIP Liz MacKean. This is so, so sad. Liz was a fantastic BBC reporter who broke the Savile sex abuse scandal. She will be much missed. https://t.co/apH1ZOWOGJ
— Christopher Hope📝 (@christopherhope) August 18, 2017
— Joe Lynam (@JoeBLynam) August 18, 2017
So sorry to hear of the death of Liz Mackean, a brave and brilliant investigative reporter who will be remembered for her integrity. https://t.co/gnRpzJbDtS
— James Cook (@BBCJamesCook) August 18, 2017
Gifted BBC & Channel 4 reporter Liz MacKean has died, far too young. Loved by everyone she worked with. Hated by villains she turned over
— Meirion Jones (@MeirionTweets) August 18, 2017