For the better part of the past decade, Aimee Stephens was fighting two battles: one against kidney disease, and another that went to the Supreme Court, a potential landmark case over her 2013 firing after coming out to her boss as transgender.

But on Tuesday, after having recently entered hospice care following years of kidney failure, Stephens lost one battle without living to see the end of the other.

She died at her home in Michigan at 59 - likely just days or weeks away from a Supreme Court ruling in her case.

Stephens' case is the first major transgender civil rights matter that the high court has heard, with potentially sweeping implications for transgender people nationwide seeking protections from being fired because of their gender identity. That Stephens will not be alive to witness its outcome has devastated her family, legal team and the countless people in the LGBT community she inspired, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Stephens, said in a statement.

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