AIDS activist Sean Sasser passed away on Wednesday. He was 44.
According to a press release from AIDS United, Sasser died after a
brief but difficult battle with mesothelioma, a rare cancer that
attacks the lungs.
Sasser and Pedro Zamora held a commitment ceremony during MTV's
reality series The Real World: San Francisco. The 1994 season
was considered groundbreaking for including Zamora, an openly gay
HIV-positive AIDS educator, as a regular cast member. Zamora died on
November 11, 1994, the day after the final episode of Real World
After Real World, Sasser continued to advocate on behalf of
HIV-positive individuals. His life partner, Michael Kaplan, runs the
D.C.-based non-profit AIDS United.
“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,” the group said in a written statement.
“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.”