28 May 2020

Playwright and pioneering LGBT and AIDS activist Larry Kramer dies aged 84

Award-winning playwright and author Larry Kramer, who was hailed worldwide for his AIDS and gay rights campaigning, has died aged 84.

The American, who was one of the founders of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, died from pneumonia in a New York hospital on Wednesday.

"Larry made a huge contribution to our world as an activist but also as a writer," his literary executor Will Schwalbe revealed.

“I believe that his plays and novels, from 'The Normal Heart' to 'The American People' will more than stand the test of time,” he added.

The writer was most famed for his 1985 play ’The Normal Heart’, which focused on a writer’s battle to raise societal awareness of AIDS, the immunodeficiency disease derived from HIV from which Kramer himself suffered.

He was also Oscar-nominated in 1969 as screenwriter for the film ’Women in Love’.

Aside from screen and playwriting, his most notable work was his prolific advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and the securing of treatment for those suffering with AIDS.

In a 1983, Kramer wrote a newspaper article regarding the AIDS epidemic.

“Our continued existence as gay men upon the face of this earth is at stake," he wrote in the article titled ’1,112 and counting.’

"Unless we fight for our lives, we shall die," he said.

His work was praised by journalist Randy Shilts, who dubbed this article ’inarguably one of the most influential works of advocacy journalism of the decade’.

Sir Elton John tweeted that it was ’the saddest news’ to hear of the passing of the trailblazer.

He added that the world had ’lost a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior’.

Creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda hailed Kramer as an ’extraordinary writer’.

Kramer leaves behind husband David Webster to whom he has been married since 2013.

Kramer (right) and husband David Webster (SIPA USA/PA Images)

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