Lewis Tice, a longtime champion of LGBT cinema who worked as a publicist, producer, film critic and film festival programmer, died Tuesday at 44.

Tice had exec producer credits on “Blood for Irina” and “Bear City” and he also helped launch “Latter Days,” “Another Gay Movie” and “Mysterious Skin” for TLA Releasing.

Throughout his career, Tice worked at Sundance, the Chicago International Film Festival, Frameline and over 20 other fests.

TLA Entertainment Group CEO Derek Curl told Indiewire,”Lewis has been my closest colleague for over 10 years. He was there for most of my firsts in the film business, protecting me from the sharks and introducing me to the people he knew…which was everyone. It is a devastating loss to me personally, to LGBT cinema and to all the filmmakers that relied on his kind soul and glorious laugh to get them through. This most sweet and talented man will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know and work with him.”