The IAS–USA and the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections deeply mourn the passing of Timothy Ray Brown, a gentle and gracious man who inspired the world first with his remarkable recovery and cure from HIV and then with his powerful advocacy for cure research and for the millions of people living with the infection. We also extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends and to his partner and ally, Tim Hoeffgen, who shared the sad news of Brown’s death on social media.
Initially known to many as “the Berlin patient” after his remarkable case was first described at the 2008 CROI, Mr Brown received bone-marrow and stem-cell transplants to treat both HIV and leukemia in 2007 and 2008. His HIV cure instilled excitement and hope in the HIV research community, much of which had been skeptical that a cure would be possible. Although Mr Brown remained free of HIV, his cancer returned last year, and he passed away in his home in Palm Springs, California, yesterday, September 29, at the age of 54.
“He was such a sweet beautiful man, and I am profoundly sad that he lost his long battle,” wrote the Chair of CROI 2021, renowned microbiologist and HIV researcher Dr Sharon Hillier of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“He was a committed advocate for cure research and really spawned the current era of creative scientific work in this area,” said CROI Foundation President and IAS–USA Board Member Dr Constance Benson, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Antiviral Research Center at the University of California San Diego.
Rest in Grace, Timothy Ray Brown (March 11, 1966 – September 29, 2020).