Fashabu came out publicly in The Sun newspaper in October 1990 but just eight years later he took his own life, following a turbulent number of years after going public, which included allegations of a sexual assault.
He will officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Manchester on Wednesday, where his niece, Amal, who also runs The Justin Fashanu Foundation, will receive the award on what would have been his 59th birthday.
I think he wouldn't believe it himself. I know he would be extremely honoured, and I know that I am extremely honoured and so is my family.
I guess for Justin this would be a great moment and I think it's a pivotal moment when we are finally recognising who Justin Fashanu was, not only as the openly gay footballer, but also as a very talented footballer and the first million-pound black player in England.
Amal, whose father John was also a footballer, came under scrutiny at the time for failing to lend his support for his brother's coming out but has since become a trustee of the foundation, which aims to raise awareness on homophobia and mental health in football and raise the profile of LGBTQ+ people in all levels of the sport.
Following the news of Fashanu's induction into the Hall of Fame, tributes have begun to pour in for the star who remains a brave pioneer in a sport which is still struggling to tackle homophobia and bigotry.
I am deeply moved by this. He was hounded to death by the British tabloids. He took his own life in an arch in East… https://t.co/iIt5kquMJU
Justin was a trailblazer, and such an accolade is long overdue - but good news nonetheless. https://t.co/BOTySmDgMd
— Royal Vauxhall Tavern (@Royal Vauxhall Tavern)
Notable players like Tomas Hitzlsperger and Robbie Rogers have come out as gay while they were still playing or shortly after they had retired but none have done so while playing in England or any of Europe's major leagues.
The women's game has not had the same issues, with major stars like Megan Rapinoe, Sam Kerr and Beth Mead all openly gay and proud.
I think it has got easier because we have moved on in life and in general. I think everyone, in other industries, we're very happy to accept is gay or who is whatever they choose to be, but I guess within football, because it is such a close-knit, dark archaic kind of vibe, it's very difficult.
I think today, if a footballer came out it would be definitely not even half as bad as Justin coming out, but I think it would still be hard, it would still be a challenge. But what's harder, to live pretending to be someone else or to be yourself?
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
For services local to you, the national mental health database- Hub of Hope - allows you to enter your postcode to search for organisations and charities who offer mental health advice and support in your area.