A gay California teenager who made an anti-suicide video last month urging other gay kids to "never give up" has killed himself.
The death on Wednesday of young filmmaker EricJames Borges, 19, has shocked his friends.
"He advocated pro-life for gays. He wouldn't want anyone to [commit suicide]," said close friend James Criss. "It's so shocking to see that he did it himself."
Borges made a video just last month for the "It Gets Better" project, a campaign that features personal hope-filled videos to LGBT teens to get them through difficult times.
"I know it is hard and I know what it feels like to be rejected and abused for your biological sexual orientation," Borges said in the video.
Borges talks about being bullied from kindergarten through high school.
"I was physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally assaulted on a day-to-day basis for my perceived sexual orientation," Borges said. "I was stalked, spit on, ostracized and physically assaulted."
In high school, he said he reached his breaking point when he said he was assaulted in a full classroom with a teacher present. He dropped out, graduated through independent studies and went to college.
He also described a traumatic coming out experience in an "extremist Christian household." His parents did not accept his sexuality and he said he was kicked out of his home around the end of September.
"My mother knew I was gay and performed an exorcism on me in an attempt to cure me," Borges said. "My anxiety, depression, self-loathing and suicidal thoughts spiked. I had nowhere safe to go, either at home or school."
Criss, 19, said that Borges struggled for a few weeks as he bounced around the homes of different friends, but was eventually happy and settled with a new roommate.
Borges said in the video that he came out in an attempt to educate others about the consequences of homophobia.
"I'm giving you this condensed history of my background to tell you this: it gets better," Borges said. "Now, I am a supplemental instructor of sexuality, a freelance guest speaker, a published writer and I work for the Trevor Project, the world's largest organization focused on suicide and crisis prevention among LGBTQ youth. I have met and befriended the most incredible and authentic people since I've come out."
A confident Borges reassured viewers that once they got through the difficult time, they would find love and happiness.
"You will love and be loved and I love you. You have an entire life, fit to burst with opportunities ahead of you. Don't ever give up and don't ever for one second think that you're not a valuable and beautiful contribution to this world. It gets better."
In the days before his suicide, Criss saw nothing to warn of the coming suicide.
"He seemed like the normal old Eric the last time I saw him. He was fine. I couldn't tell anything was wrong with him," Criss said.
In November, the young filmmaker made a video titled, "Invisible Creatures: A Short Film by EricJames Borges." The video features couples of different ages, some heterosexual and some homosexual, lovingly hugging, kissing, walking and talking in a field.
Anti-Suicide Activist Kills Himself
"Eric was a very driven and passionate individual," Criss said. "As long as I've known him, he was always seeking to do good for others. He wanted to make the world a better place, especially for the gay community."
Criss said Borges had intended to use the video for applications to film school, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.
"He had so much talent in him," Criss said. "He was a visionary."
Criss said Borges was a big fan of Lady Gaga and that his favorite song off of her new album was the inspiring "Edge of Glory."
"He loved her so much. That was probably his role model," Criss said. "He often quoted her. He was very passionate about her."