Josh Hutcherson Opens Up About The Deaths of His Gay Uncles

Josh Hutcherson at Avalon on April 5, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The fight for equality has always been a topic of conversation in Josh Hutcherson's home.

When the 19-year-old was an infant, two of the Hunger Games star's uncles–both gay men in their early thirties–died of AIDS.

"They…were taken away from us too soon," Hutcherson told E! News Wednesday. After his uncles' tragic deaths, his mother stepped up her involvement in the fight for LGBT rights.

"My mom has always been a big advocate, especially in the gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual community, so for me it's always been a part of my soul," the actor explained. Taking inspiration from his mom's activism, Hutcherson started working closely with best friend Avan Jogia's organization for gay teens and their straight allies, Straight But Not Narrow.

Thanks to his efforts, the Kids Are All Right star will become the youngest person ever to receive GLAAD's Vanguard prize at their Media Awards in L.A. Saturday. For his part, Hutcherson says he just hopes he's making his family proud–and properly honoring the memory of his deceased uncles.

"[This work of mine] is what my family is most proud of, and the same for me," Hucherson shared. "I'd like to think that [my uncles] see what I'm doing and that they're proud of me."

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!