Dr. R. Scott Hitt, a pioneering AIDS physician who served as Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS during the Clinton administration, died today in West Hollywood. He was 49. The cause of death was metastatic colon cancer, according to his publicist.
Hitt co-founded Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality (ANGLE); founded theAmerican Academy of HIV Medicine; and has served on the boards of numerous AIDS and LGBT organizations, including AIDS Project Los Angeles, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Equality California.
Hitt founded the R. Scott Hitt Foundation in 2007,which strives to advance the development and training of socially conscious individuals interested in becoming the future leaders in LGBT community activism.
Announcement continued, after the jump…
*** Via Hitt’s publicist:
“Scott Hitt was a pioneer in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Working with President Clinton, Scott was responsible for creating policy that saved thousands of lives,” said David Mixner, author, political strategist and civil rights activist. “He fought discrimination and was a powerful force within the Democratic Party. We shall miss his voice.”
It was Hitt’s believe that the LGBT community must continue to develop individuals from within their community who can articulate LGBT positions, stand up against the radical right and help see to it that America is not duped into believing that there is any group that should ever be treated differently than how they would have their own sons and daughters treated.
With much passion and valor Dr. Hitt made a monumental decision to try and focus his last years toward doing what he could to assist the next generation until the LGBT community is finally on the same playing field as everyone else. Throughout his illness which was diagnosed in 1999, Dr. Hitt courageously helped develop, mentor and train the next group of leaders in the LGBT community. Empowering and transforming the lives of young LGBT members was his life mission and until his death was one of the things that brought him the most fulfillment.
He often wondered when he looked at community-based organizations and sat at their board meetings, “Who will replace the leaders I have had the honor of meeting and working with? Who will pick up the mantle and do what needs to be done to ensure future LGBT generations won’t be whitewashed from the pages of history?”
Dr. Hitt always felt that individuals do not leave a single legacy— it is a lifelong body of work. And his included his true partnership with a wonderful man named Alex Koleszar; the patients he lovingly cared for over the years, determining what combination of therapies would help them survive to the next level; and the organizations he humbly served.
Dr. R. Scott Hitt was born in Tucson, Arizona. He is survived by his long time companion, Alex Koleszar; he is also survived by his two sisters Alana Hoffmann and Heather Martin. A private service and burial will take place in Phoenix, Arizona. A memorial service will be announced and to be held at All Saints’ Parish in Beverly Hills presided by Pastor Altagracia Perez.