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Larry Kramer, Pivotal AIDS Activist, Has Died

Larry Kramer

He was a Tony Award-winning writer and helped to shift the national health policy on the AIDS crisis.

After a lifelong fight that changed the national health policy surrounding AIDS and HIV, Larry Kramer died today according to a New York Times report. Kramer, who is an award-winning writer, died from pneumonia according to his husband David Webster. The two married in 2013.

Kramer, who helped to found Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP, was known for his ornery, sometimes aggressive to activism. And while his style may have drawn criticism, Kramer's impact on conversations and policies that impact the trans and queer communities, particularly those who are living with HIV or AIDS, is immeasurable.

"Once you got past the rhetoric," Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the New York Times, "you found that Larry Kramer made a lot of sense, and that he had a heart of gold."

Kramer, who lived with HIV, was an accomplished playwright and author. His screenplay Women in Love saw him nominated for an Academy Award in 1969. His play The Normal Heart was turned into an Emmy-winning HBO film by Ryan Murphy. He also accepted the Isabelle Stevenson Award from the Tony's for his "substantial contribution on behalf of humanitarian, social service, or charitable organizations."

"Larry Kramer's passing is the saddest news," Sir Elton John wrote in a tribute posted to Instagram. "We have lost a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior. His anger was needed at a time when gay men's deaths to AIDS were being ignored by the American government: a tragedy that made the Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP movements so vital. He never stopped shouting about the injustices against us. His voice was the loudest and the most effective. Larry Kramer captured the outrage and spirit of these turbulent times in his brilliant play The Normal Heart along with his many other writings. I was proud to know him and his legacy must be maintained. My heart goes out to his beloved husband David Webster."

In 2015, Kramer began releasing his life's work, The American People. The first volume came in at 800 pages and the second was released in January. HBO released the documentary Larry Kramer In Love and Anger, in 2015, entered on his life story.

Kramer was has been previously recognized in the Out100, honored as with a cover of the issue in 2011. He also was previously a Power 50 honoree.

RELATED | How Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart Changed My Teenaged World

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