Larry Kramer, Playwright And AIDS Activist, Dies At Age 84

Larry Kramer, a noted author and playwright who fought for aggressive action to conquer the AIDS epidemic, died Wednesday morning in Manhattan. He was 84.

His husband, David Webster, said the cause was pneumonia.

Kramer first became aware of the disease after friends living next door in New York died.

“No one was saying anything,” he later recounted. “I often make the comparison with a war reporter whose parachute drops behind enemy lines and he realizes he’s faced with the greatest story he can tell. I was not a political person before all this.”

After a meeting of about 80 people in his apartment in 1982, he helped found Gay Men’s Health Crisis and began fundraising, campaigning and writing about the subject.

“You should have seen the faces,” he said of that meeting. “We all had friends who died… If one of us had it, we all had it.”

He later formed Act Up, a radical protest group, and in 1989 learned he was HIV positive himself and suffering from liver damage.

He had a liver transplant in 2001 and was given experimental HIV drugs by Anthony Fauci – the medical researcher now leading the fight against the coronavirus in the US.

Dr. Fauci told the New York Times: “Once you got past the rhetoric, you found that Larry Kramer made a lot of sense, and that he had a heart of gold.”

Kramer wrote the landmark 1985 play The Normal Heart, about the early years of Aids, and 1992’s The Destiny of Me.

News of Kramer’s passing prompted an outpouring of tweets honoring and remembering his life and legacy.