Timothy Ray Brown, the first man cured of HIV through stem cell transplants who was known for many years as “the Berlin patient,” has died of cancer at the age of 54.
The AP reports: “Brown died Tuesday at his home in Palm Springs, California, according to a social media post by his partner, Tim Hoeffgen. The cause was a return of the cancer that originally prompted the unusual bone marrow and stem cell transplants Brown received in 2007 and 2008, which for years seemed to have eliminated both his leukemia and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. “
Brown’s life was celebrated by AIDS activist Peter Staley, who wrote on Facebook: “The chance he took with his docs in Berlin helped reignite AIDS cure research. He became our proof-of-concept. And wonderfully, he became our friend. Frightened to go before the press after some brain damage from the bone marrow transplant he went through, Tim ended up doing dozens of pitch-perfect interviews, and then joined the international club of AIDS activists, attending all the international AIDS conferences, hugging us, dancing with us at the off-site parties, and obviously loving that he had found our beautiful family. His partner Tim Hoeffgen was often by his side. Timothy became our smiling example of hope for a cure. A heavy responsibility which he never shied away from. He was a rascal too. I bumped into him in the back rooms of the no-pants party in Amsterdam two years ago, and laughed with joy when he told me he was on PrEP. ‘It wouldn’t be cool if the only guy cured from AIDS got it a second time,’ he said, with a huge smile.When the cure finally comes, let’s all have a communal toast to this amazing man.”