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 year 2000.

“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 “Chicken Koop.”