On Wednesday, May 27, the LGBTQ community—and the world at large—lost a giant when AIDS activist and ACT UP founder Larry Kramer died at the age of 84.
Kramer had been at the frontlines of the fight against HIV/AIDS for decades, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been prominent during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The two men started off as adversaries, with Kramer accusing Fauci and the U.S. government of not doing enough to stop the spread of AIDS, but they eventually became close friends.
“It was an extraordinary 33-year relationship,” Fauci told The New York Times when asked about Kramer’s passing. “We loved each other. We would have dinner. I would go see him in the West Village, he would come down to Washington.”
Fauci was also interviewed on PBS News Hour about his friendship with Kramer:
This is a very sad day, not only for me but for many people who’ve had the opportunity to deal with Larry Kramer. He was a most unusual figure in a very positive sense. He was a firebrand. He had extraordinary courage to speak out and challenge the system that was in place at the time of the early years of HIV/AIDS. As a government official who was trying to do a job to address this, he saw me as the face of the federal government. And we became adversaries. I wasn’t an adversary to him, but boy, he was an adversary to me. He attacked me, he called me a murderer, he called me an incompetent idiot—I mean, publicly. But then, as I got to listen to what he had to say, I realized that he was making some important points that we in the establishment needed to listen to.
As NewNowNext previously reported, the openly gay author, playwright, and activist died Wednesday morning in New York City due to complications from pneumonia. Kramer had endured multiple life-threatening illnesses throughout his lifetime, including HIV and liver disease.
WATCH: Dr. Anthony Fauci remembers the late HIV/AIDS activist Larry Kramer:
"He was just an extraordinary man. … He changed the relationship between the afflicted community with a given disease and the scientific and regulatory community that has such a great impact on them." pic.twitter.com/MJRSs705VI
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) May 27, 2020
“We became, gradually, friends, and then we became very good friends, and then we became colleagues in the struggle,” Fauci told PBS. “So it turned out that, you know, I loved the guy. And I think he loved me back. And it was a very interesting journey that we went through together.”
“So I’m very sad that we lost him. He was just an extraordinary man.”