The millionaire co-founder of Gaydar, the world’s biggest online gay dating site, has plunged 23 floors to his death from a balcony a decade after his partner died the same way.
South African Henry Badenhorst crashed through a glass canopy and landed on a waiting limousine after falling from an exclusive serviced apartment in Michelangelo Towers hotel, Johannesburg.
It comes ten years after the 51-year-old business and life partner Gary Frisch died in a fall from the balcony of a building in south London.
Police said they are not treating the fall as suspicious, and friends have said that Mr Badenorst was suffering from depression.
Captain Kay Makhubele said: “Police searched the apartment rented by the deceased and no suicide note was found. The motive behind the incident is unknown and the police are investigating.”
Eyewitness Khuthali Zondo was walking past the luxury Michelangelo Towers when she saw the horrific image of the 51-year-old’s body smashing onto the back window of a car as the chauffeur sat at the wheel.
She said: “I heard this loud crashing sound, it was his body hitting the glass shade above the area where the cars were waiting and then the body hit the car, smashing the back window.
“It was an horrific image, there was broken glass, blood, and the body was smashed. The emergency services and police came and taped off the area, but there was nothing they could do for the guy.”
The entrepreneur was thought to be still mourning the loss of Mr Frisch, who was killed in 2007 after falling from an eighth-floor balcony following a night of taking party drug ketamine.
Police have searched the apartment he had rented for just one night for any clues to the fall, on Saturday morning.
The pair, who split up shortly before 38-year-old Mr Frisch’s death at his flat in Battersea, London, had made millions by creating the Gaydar dating website in 1999.
Mr Frisch left an estate worth £6.5million to Mr Badenhorst who described the death of his lover and business partner as the worst day of my life.
Mr Badenhorst checked into the exclusive tower block on Friday for one night only, according to a source at the Michelangelo, which is known for its discretion and discerning clientele, including Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga.
He grew up in a conservative Afrikaans-speaking family in Johannesburg, and sold his shares in the ground-breaking site four years ago for an undisclosed sum.
He and Mr Frisch were together for 15 years and had set up Gaydar in 1999 after a friend complained he was too busy to look for love.
It now has six million members in 140 countries and is now expanding with a female dating site, Gaydar Girls, a radio station and Profile, a bar and club in London’s gay district of Soho.
Gauteng police spokesman Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed a man died after falling from the building shortly after 11am on Saturday.
Following news of Mr Badenhorst’s death on November 11, Rob Curtis, the current managing director of Gaydar, said: “Eighteen years ago, Henry and his partner Gary revolutionised the way that gay men meet, and in doing so created a safer environment for LGBT people everywhere.
“The Gaydar team is shocked and saddened to hear of Henry’s passing and send our sincerest sympathies to Henry’s friends and family.”
Gaydar later tweeted a picture of Mr Badenhorst along with the words: “To Henry. The man who revolutionised gay dating. Our founder and our friend. Thank you for dreaming. You will be forever in our hearts. Gaydar xxx.”
For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see
http://www.samaritans.org for details.
For confidential support in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
For confidential support in Australia, contact the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14.
For confidential support in South Africa, contact the Befrienders South Africa on 051 444 5691 or visit a local Befrienders branch, see http://minotaur.marques.co.za/befrienders-sa/main.htm for more details. Also contact the Lifeline South Africa on 0861 322 322 or visit the organization, see lifeline.org.za for more details.
For confidential support in Nigeria, call the Nigerian Suicide Prevention Initiative on (234)-806-210-6493 or (234)-809-210-6493.