Jay Michaela gay developer who was part of the Chicago-based reality show 100 Days of Summerdied recently after battling cancer. He was 34.
Michael was the co-founder and chief operating officer of FLATS Chicago and was a founding partner as well as chief marketing and innovation officer of CEDARst, a diversified holding company.
Michael was a controversial figure for some. In 2014, Windy City Times covered a protest of 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman's re-election launch. Protester Ryne Poelker mentioned that Michael was among the top donors of Cappleman, who Poelker said pushed classism "with his pro-developer bias." Others said that Michael was among those who displaced everyone from senior citizens to veterans out of single-room occupancy hotel rooms.
In a statement to Windy City Times, CEDARst said, "On Friday evening [Jan. 8], we lost our dear friend and colleague, Jay Michael. Jay was a visionary in the truest sense of the word; he only saw possibility and he was steadfast in bringing his ideas to life.
"Jay led by example, fighting feverishly each and every day for all of the things in this world that he wanted to improve. As the co-founder of CEDARst, he was constantly bucking real estate and design conventions, religiously following only his intuition as he developed new and better ways to live. After all, Jay wasn't merely developing real estate, he was creating spaces that fostered community and platforms for creative spirits to thrive.
Over the last year, Jay approached his fight against lymphoma in the same the way that he tackled everything else, with perseverance, humor, and more than a little chutzpah. We may have lost our Jay Michael, but Jay did not lose to cancer. As he said many times, upon his diagnosis he made a decisive choice to live.
"This past year was the year that he embraced living the hardest, which was the truest testament to his character, and perhaps his greatest lesson to us all. During this difficult time, his example pushed us to become better coworkers, better friends, and better people, lessons we are grateful to carry with us into this next chapter as we deeply miss having him by our sides. Jay's vibrant personality and bravado touched the lives of everyone around him, and we vow to keep his innovative and tenacious spirit alive in his legacy, our ongoing work here at CEDARst."
Michael wrote a blog, "My Choice to Live," that initially ran in the Chicago Sun-Times publication Splash. "My Choice" detailed his fight with cancer.