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Sean Sasser of "The Real World: San Francisco" dies at age 44

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sean Sasser, who helped educate Americans about AIDS as the husband of "The Real World: San Francisco" cast member Pedro Zamora, has died, former cast member Judd Winick announced on Twitter Wednesday night.

Sasser, who was 44, died of a rare cancer of the lungs called mesothelioma. Although no other details of his medical condition have been released, Sasser was HIV-positive, and that form of cancer has been linked to weakened immune systems in people with AIDS.

Sasser and Zamora fell in love as "The Real World" cameras rolled on the show's third season in 1994. The two men first met at the 1993 March on Washington for equal rights for gay, lesbians and bisexuals. Zamora lived in Miami; Sasser in San Francisco. Nine months later, Zamora called Sasser to let him know he was going to San Francisco to film "The Real World."

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Reaction from AIDS United

Statement by Douglas M. Brooks, chair of AIDS United’s board of trustees:

“On behalf of the AIDS United Board of Trustees, Staff and Public Policy Committee I want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to our colleague and friend Michael J. Kaplan on the loss of his spouse Sean Franklin Sasser. Sean passed away on August 7 at age 44 after a brief but difficult battle with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the lungs. Sean had been living with HIV for 25 years.

“While we and the world have known Sean as a prominent AIDS activist, the AIDS United family also has known Sean as the devoted spouse of Michael Kaplan, who supported and accompanied him as the couple made a significant life transition from Portland, OR to Washington D.C. when we recruited Michael to take the helm of AIDS United in December, 2012. We shared Michael’s pride as Sean’s success as a celebrated pastry chef just continued to grow after their move to the District. We will always be grateful for Sean’s support of Michael in Michael’s new and often-demanding role as President and CEO. And we will certainly miss the generous samplings of his magnificent pastry creations that he occasionally shared with the AIDS United offices.

“Our thoughts are with Michael and the families of both Sean and Michael at this time. We pray that they find peace from their memories of Sean in the coming days.”

Expression of condolences can be made to Michael Kaplan at mkaplan@aidsunited.org