Joe Romero Passes Away

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Gay adult performer, songwriter and director Joe Romero (born David Joseph Romero) died Oct. 30.

Romero was one of the first gay Latin male stars, and he saw himself as an alternative to the adult-industry stereotype. He starred in more than 650 movies and released two CDs on his own Motorock Records label. Often described as a "heavy-metal porno star" and "sex pig," Romero promoted himself as the "Shock-Rock Porn Star" during tours of the U.S., Italy and Germany.

Saying he was battling cancer, in September 2006 Romero retired from the adult industry after a career spanning more than 14 years.

Although he consciously developed a public image as a hell-raiser, Romero lived a very different private life. He volunteered for organizations like Paws LA, The Tom of Finland Foundation and APLA, and participated in numerous charity events.

During the last year of his life, Romero lived in New Hampshire and worked at a hospital, spending his spare time as chairman of the community advisory board for the Manchester AIDS Project and using his star power to help people with AIDS.

According to friends, Romero's real legacy will be his generosity and humor.

"He was truly a character," Kathryn Reed, who discovered Romero, told "I liked him as a friend."

"He was truly one of the great actors: an enormously strong screen presence, masculine and very, very hot - and a hell of a nice guy," Gino Colbert, who frequently worked with Romero, told "It was always a pleasure to work with him. I don't think he ever gave a bad performance. He loved being in movies, and the camera loved him."

Romero is survived by his father and two sisters.