Larry Kramer, an author, playwright and film producer who helped shape U.S. healthcare policy with his early advocacy of a national response to AIDS when it first emerged in the 1980s, died on Wednesday at 84.
Kramer, who co-founded the ACT UP movement that made AIDS a national issue, died of pneumonia after enduring illness for much of his life, including his own battle with the immunodeficiency disease, his close friend, Will Schwalbe, said by phone.
Schwalbe, who also served as Kramer’s literary executor, said his friend’s death at a New York hospital was not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kramer, whose works include the award-winning 1985 play, “The Normal Heart,” established himself as a fierce advocate for LGBTQ rights as the gay community, including many of his friends, became afflicted with AIDS, a newly emergent disease in the 1980s.
He co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) organization in 1981 to help AIDS victims before co-founding the more militant ACT UP in 1987.