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Larry Kramer, Groundbreaking Author & AIDS Activist, Dies At 84

The legendary LGBTQ icon died Wednesday morning in Manhattan…

Larry Kramer, the groundbreaking author and tireless activist for gay rights and a national effort to tackle the HIV/Aids crisis, has died in New York. He was 84.

Kramer died on Wednesday morning in Manhattan, the New York Times reported, citing his husband, David Webster, who said Kramer had died of pneumonia.

Born in 1935, he grew up in and around Washington, D.C. He graduated from Yale University in 1957 and served in the U.S. Army Reserve, before working in film production in London for Columbia Pictures.
 
Kramer was a founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the pioneering organization to assist those with HIV, and also a founder of the direct action group Act Up that demanded an end to the sluggish response to HIV treatment and research in the US as the Aids crisis worsened in the 1980s.
 
He wrote the iconic off-Broadway play The Normal Heart, a largely autobiographical play that looked at the rise of the Aids crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group.
 
He earned an Oscar nomination in 1971 for adapting DH Lawrence’s Women in Love, and he wrote 1992’s The Destiny of Me, and the controversial novel Faggots in 1977. In 1996, Kramer received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature.
 
The Normal Heart became an Emmy award-winning television drama in 2014, starring Mark Ruffalo as the central character, and had been produced on Broadway in 2011, where it won three awards.
 
Last month, Kramer announced that he was writing a new play that would partially deal with the current COVID-19 crisis. The play was tentatively titled An Army of Lovers Must Not Die, and would focus on “gay people having to live through three plagues.”
 
Following news of his death, ACT UP shared a message for their fallen AIDS warrior.
 
“Rest in power to our fighter Larry Kramer. Your rage helped inspire a movement. We will keep honoring your name and spirit with action,” the group wrote on Twitter.
 

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