Many of us know someone who has been diagnosed with HIV. Some of us have watched loved ones pass on. If you haven’t known anyone personally, you’ve known of celebrities. AIDS is a disease that doesn’t discriminate according to wealth, fame or status. Below are 5 celebs that died of AIDS.
Eazy-E was one of the bad boys of NWA, blowing up alongside Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to become the greatest great rap act from the West Coast. In March 1995, the “Godfather of Gangsta Rap” announced that he was dying from AIDS. He said in his statement, “Before Tomika (his wife at the time), I had other women. I have seven children by six different mothers. Maybe success was too good to me.” He died weeks after making his announcement.
2.) Willi Smith
One of fashion’s first African-American stars, Willi Smith hit fame and status at a young age. The creator of funky “street couture” fashion was a hit in stores in France and England. Making over $25 million from his designs in 1986, Smith died of AIDS at the young age of 39.
3.) Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey has inspired hundreds of African American dancers to live their dreams. A great American choreographer, he is credited with increasing African-American participation in modern dance through his shows and his school, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Ailey received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988 and died of AIDS a year later, in 1989.
4.) Fela Kuti
Fela, the king of the Afrobeat, spread awareness through his politically-conscience music. His upbeat songs drew international acclaim and attention as he sang about European colonialism and government corruption in his native Nigeria. Marrying 27 of his dancers, Fela was known for his love of women. He died of AIDS in 1997 at the age of 58.
5.) Arthur Ashe
During World AIDS Day in 1992, Arthur Ashe, retired tennis player and the only black man to win the Wimbledon singles title, spoke at the 1992 World Health Organization (WHO) meeting. Ashe contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and died in February 1993 at age 49.
6.) Gia Carangi
One of the hottest supermodels of her time, Gia Carangi appeared on the covers of Vogue andCosmopolitan. She was also the face of Armani, Christian Dior, and Versace. With her success came demons. Carangi became addicted to heroin, contracting AIDS from needle use. She died at the young age of 26 in 1986.
7.) Freddie Mercury
The lead singer of the popular rock group Queen was only 45 when he died of AIDS. Known for his four-octave range, Mercury was also a talented song writer. There was speculation that he was HIV-positive, which he admitted publicly before his death in 1991.
The death of the infamous and flamboyant piano mastermind was said to be due to congestive heart failure. Years later, an autopsy confirmed that Liberace had HIV though he never gave a statement saying that he was HIV-positive or homosexual. The pianist died in 1987 at the age of 67.
9.) Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson was the first celebrity to die of AIDS. He kept his illness a secret while continuing to work in Hollywood. The leading man in many romantic comedies of the 1950s and 1960s publicly admitted to having AIDS on July 25, 1985. While in Paris for treatment, he released a press release announcing that he was dying of AIDS. He passed away shortly after the announcement on October 5, 1985. Elizabeth Taylor, his Giant co-star, dedicated her life to raising funds for AIDS after the loss.
10.) Pedro Zamora
Pedro became known to the public as a member of The Real World: San Francisco. Becoming the face of HIV/AIDS in the early 1990s, he learned that he was HIV positive as a junior in high school. Soon after, he became an HIV/AIDS activist, educating youth on the importance of safe sex. He died in 1994 at the young age of 22.
This is proof… HIV/AIDS is real!