Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient,” was 54 years old.
Brown was thought to be cured of his HIV infection in 2008. In the previous year, Brown received a bone marrow transplant in Berlin, Germany, to treat a separate disease he was diagnosed with: acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The bone marrow he receives comes from a donor whose genes carry a rare mutation that makes the donor naturally resistant to HIV, known as CCR5-delta 32, which has been transferred to Brown.
Brown remains HIV-free – but for the past six months he has been living with a recurrence of leukemia that has entered his spine and brain, according to the International AIDS Society (IAS).
“On behalf of all its members and the Board of Directors, the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy̵
“We owe a great deal of gratitude to Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, for opening the door for scientists to study the concept that HIV treatment is possible,” the IAS said in a statement.
Brown lived in Berlin from 1993 to 2010 while working in a café and as a German-English translator, his partner Tim wrote in a Facebook post. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 and later diagnosed with AML in 2007.
Brown “gave his life’s work to tell his story of his HIV treatment and became an ambassador of hope,” his partner wrote.
“I’m really blessed to have shared a life together, but it’s broken my heart that my character is gone,” he said. “Tim was truly the sweetest man in the world. Tim’s spirit will continue to live and the love and support of family and friends will help me through this most difficult time.”
More than two years ago, Adam Castilejo – formerly identified as a “patient in London” – completed antiretroviral therapy for HIV, making him the second person ever cured of HIV.
Unlike Brown, Castilejo underwent only one stem cell transplant instead of two and did not receive full-body radiation therapy as part of his treatment.
CNN’s Gina Yu and Amy Uddiat contributed to this report.