An outspoken pro-union, anti-capitalist and communist composer, Blitzstein was openly gay. His first lover was the conductor Alexander Smallens, with whom he traveled to Europe in 1924. Blitzstein nevertheless married novelist Eva Goldbeck in 1933. They had no children. During a visit to Martinique in 1964, Blitzstein was murdered by three sailors he had picked up in a bar, one of whom he was said to have propositioned.