Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called “patient in Berlin” and the first person known to be cured of HIV, has died at the age of 54.
It was recently revealed that he was terminally ill with a recurrence of leukemia last year. The news of his death was announced on Facebook by his partner Tim Hofgen, who called Brown his “angel” and said he was surrounded by friends when he died Tuesday afternoon in Palm Springs, California.
“I’m really blessed to have shared a life together, but my heart is broken that my character is gone. “Tim was really 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 during this most difficult time.
Brown, who was diagnosed with HIV in the 1990s, learned he had leukemia in 2006 while working in Berlin. In 2007 and 2008, he received stem cell transplants from another patient, leading to both remission of leukemia and negative HIV testing. He has since tested negative for the virus that causes AIDS.
“Timothy has proven that HIV can be cured, but that’s not what inspires me about it,” said Dr. Stephen Dix, an AIDS specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, about his remarkable status. “We took pieces of his intestines, we took pieces of his lymph nodes. Every time he was asked to do something, he appeared with incredible grace. “
Brown said that although his leukemia had returned, he was still happy to have treated stem cells, saying they had “opened doors that had not been there before.”
The International Society for AIDS (IAS), an organization of HIV professionals, has acknowledged its transmission
their website and Twitter, saying, “With a deep heart, the IAS is saying goodbye to Timothy Ray Brown” and expressed “great gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that HIV treatment is possible.”
Baltimore-based blogger Mark King, who writes about HIV, recently visited with Brown and Hofgen, who expressed sadness that they saw their partner’s decline.
“The hardest thing is to see Timothy coming down,” Hofgen told King in a story for Los Angeles Blade. “He’s a man you can’t help but love. He is so cute. Cancer treatment is rough. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worse than the disease. “
Hofgen also told him that researchers wanted Brown’s body to be “left to science” after his death, but he refused. “I said, ‘Thank you, but no. I think he has done enough, “Hofgen said.
King also acknowledges Brown’s contribution to AIDS research.
“It is incomprehensible what value it had for the world as a subject of science,” he said. “And yet this is a human being who is a kind, humble man who certainly never wanted the spotlight.
“I think the world from him.”