Larry Kramer the author of 1,112 and Counting, an essay that brought attention to the AIDS epidemic to Americans in the 1980s has died at 84, CNN reports.
“If this article doesn’t rouse you to anger, fury, rage and action, gay men have no future on this earth,” Kramer wrote. “Unless we fight for our lives we shall die.”
It is this essay that led to Kramer being credited for helping bring attention to the spread of AIDS and for propulsion of the United States to respond to the crisis in the way it did.
Kramer’s activism is also credited for saving thousands of lives.
William Schwalbe, Kramer’s close friend and literary executor, spoke to CNN about his contribution to AIDS activism and writing.
“Larry made a huge contribution to our world as an activist but also as a writer,” said Schwalbe, who had known Kramer for 57 years. “I believe that his plays and novels, from The Normal Heart to The American People will more than stand the test of time.”
Kramer was one of the first activists to speak out about the AIDS epidemic and co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a leading providor of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy.
Kramer was ousted from the group a year later after his accusatory rhetoric caused a riff within the group, but in 1987, he helped found ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unlease Power), a more extreme organization that performed demonstrations, die-ins, political funerals and speeches against government officials, religious leaders and Wall Street to speed up AIDS research and advocate for the LGBTQ community.
“Rest in power to our fighter Larry Kramer. Your rage helped inspire a movement. We will keep honoring your name and spirit with action,” ACT UP NY tweeted Wednesday.
Aside from his AIDS activism, Kramer was also known for being an LGBTIQ trailblazer leading the way to live proudly as a gay man.
Actor Anthony Rapp tweeted, “I met Larry Kramer when I was 18 or 19 and did a reading of his play The Destiny Of Me. Getting to converse with him and soak up some of his incredible energy was galvanizing, and was one of the main reasons I then chose to live my life as a publicly out actor at a time when few did.”
In 2002, Kramer confirmed he was HIV+ in an interview with PBS.