Pop superstar Ricky Martin has credited Australian swimming champion Ian Thorpe with inspiring millions of gay youngsters around the world by opening up about his sexuality.
The five-time gold medallist 'came out' as gay during a recent Tv interview, and Martin, who made a similar revelation in 2010, has praised Thorpe for giving hope to all those still struggling with personal issues.
Martin tells Australia's Herald Sun newspaper, "(Thorpe) has no idea what he's doing for the Lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community around the world. He is so powerful... I'll say it now, and I've said it on many occasions. There are millions of little boys and girls around the world struggling with their sexual identity. To have someone as powerful as him, and as successful as (Thorpe) saying: 'It's Ok to be who you who you are, and be happy'. Kudos, Ian, I'm very proud of you."
Martin 'came out' as gay in 2010 after years of rumours about his sexuality, and the Livin' la Vida Loca singer insists Thorpe was very brave to acknowledge his sexual preferences publicly.
He adds, "Some people die without being able to accept themselves. It took me 35 years."