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Body Found In Former Gerber/Hart LGBT Library Building

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A body was found earlier this week in the newly-vacated building that formerly housed the Gerber/Hart LGBT library.

The Chicago Phoenix reports police were called at 8:16 p.m. Tuesday to the building at 1127 W. Granville Ave., after a body was found. The Gerber/Hart Library and Archives had moved out the day before.

The man was identified as Marcus Smith, 51, of the 1100 block of West Glenlake Avenue just a block south.

The Medical Examiner's office said Smith's death was natural, caused by complications from valvular heart disease, the Phoenix reported. It was not known what he was doing in the building, but sources speculated that Smith had been a maintenance or construction worker, the Phoenix reported.

The library is in the process of moving from the Granville Avenue location, a couple of blocks south of Loyola University in the Edgewater neighborhood. The new location for the library is at 6500 N. Clark St., next door to the Rogers Park District police station.

The Gerber/Hart Library was founded in 1981 as a joint project by the Chicago chapter of the Gay Academic Union, Gay Horizons, and the Chicago Gay and Lesbian History Project.

The original library location was at 3255 N. Sheffield Ave. in the offices of Gay Horizons, and it moved five times before settling in its double storefront on Granville Avenue in 1998.

The library includes 14,000 volumes, 800 periodicals and 100 archival collections documenting the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Chicago and throughout Illinois and the Midwest. The collection also includes sound recordings and films.

The library also includes a special collections section that features periodicals published before the gay rights movement began in earnest with the Stonewall riots in 1969, as well as T-shirts, buttons and other memorabilia from local and national LGBT groups. The library's archive is composed of papers collected from people, organizations and businesses, documenting this history of Chicago's gay community.

General collections are available for checkout, as at a public library.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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