Environmental advocate dies after setting himself on fire in NYC park

Buckel's body was found by a jogger in a grassy area of the park on Saturday at 6.30am

"The news of David's death is heartbreaking", Taylor said.

After leaving the organisation he became involved in campaigning for environmental causes, according to the Times.

Mr Buckel was the lead attorney in a case involving Brandon Teena, a transgender man murdered in the U.S. state of Nebraska. He left a suicide note in a shopping cart near his body, writing that he hoped his act would bring attention to the need to protect the environment. It read, "My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves".

Buckel wrote that pollution was ravaging the planet and hoped his death would serve as a symbol.

Early Saturday morning, people at Prospect Park noticed Buckel's body before first responders arrived on the scene.

In his suicide note, Buckel recalled the Tibetan monk protesters who have set themselves on fire in protest of the Chinese occupation in Tibet, according to the New York Daily News.

"A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life..."

Told Irena Ryjova, 44 who came past the 'mass" just after 7 am, an hour after Buckel burned himself, "It was just lying there, on its back, knees slightly bent like someone would lie on the sand at the beach'. Police said he was pronounced dead at about 6:30am.

Buckel had a leading role in crucial same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa, while he served as marriage project director and senior counsel at Lambda Legal - which is a national organization that fights for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

"I apologize to you for the mess", Buckel reportedly wrote.

He argued against the Boy Scout ban on gay, fought for the right of gay high school students in Salt Lake City to organize a club and helped a Pennsylvania woman win a lawsuit allowing her to put "beloved life partner" on the headstone of her partner. Hilary Swank, who starred in the film, won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her portrayal of Teena.

He said that privilege comes with the suffering of others. "David helped create Lambda Legal's focus on LGBT youth", Taylor continued, detailing Buckel's work on a case that led a federal court to rule that schools "have an obligation to prevent anti-gay bullying". "He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory".

Lambda Legal said his death was a "tremendous loss for our Lambda Legal family, but also for the entire movement for social justice", describing him as an "indefatigable attorney" and a "beautiful human being".

LGBT lawyer David Buckel set himself on fire as a sign of protest.

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