Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop
died Monday at this home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96. A
cause of death has not been disclosed.
Koop, who served under President Ronald
Reagan from 1982 to 1989, became a household name while serving in
the post. An evangelical Christian, he shocked his conservative
supporters when he endorsed condoms and sex education to stop the
spread of HIV/AIDS. A mailer on AIDS sent to every U.S. household
offered frank talk about how the disease is spread, leading religious
activists to call for Koop's resignation.
Gay rights activists also criticized
Koop's handling of the disease, arguing that he focused too much on
gay sex. But Koop refused to back down, claiming that anal
intercourse poses a greater risk than other means of transmission.
A former pipe smoker, Koop led a
campaign against smoking, hoping to stamp it out in the U.S. by the
“He saved countless lives through his
leadership in confronting the public health crisis that came to be
known as AIDS and standing up to powerful special interests like the
tobacco companies,” said California Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat.
Friends knew Koop as “Chick,” as in