Elton John is mourning the death of playwright, author and activist Larry Kramer, best known for his play The Normal Heart, and for founding the landmark Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization and, later, the more militant group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).
Kramer died of pneumonia at age 84, his husband told the New York Times, though over the years he’d battled other health issues, such as H.I.V. infection and liver disease, the latter of which required a transplant.
Elton posted a photo of himself and his husband David Furnish posing with Kramer on Instagram, and wrote, “Larry Kramer’s passing is the saddest news. We have lost a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior.”
“His anger was needed at a time when gay men’s deaths to AIDS were being ignored by the American government: a tragedy that made the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP movements so vital,” Elton added.
Indeed, Kramer was among the first activists to realize that AIDS would spread worldwide. According to the New York Times, no less an expert than Dr. Anthony Fauci — whom Kramer once called an “incompetent idiot” — says Kramer played an “essential” role in the development of life-prolonging drug regimens for H.I.V. patients. The two eventually became friends.
Elton’s post continued, “He never stopped shouting about the injustices against us. His voice was the loudest and the most effective. Larry Kramer captured the outrage and spirit of these turbulent times in his brilliant play The Normal Heart along with his many other writings. I was proud to know him and his legacy must be maintained.”
Elton, of course, is a prominent AIDS activist himself, having raised many millions through his own Elton John AIDS Foundation.
By Andrea Dresdale
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