Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient”, was 54 years old.
Brown was deemed to have been cured of HIV infection in 2008. The previous year, Brown received a bone marrow transplant in Berlin, Germany, to treat a separate disease he was diagnosed with: acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Brown has remained HIV-free – but for the past six months he has been living with recurring leukemia entering his spine and brain, according to the International AIDS Association (IAS).
“On behalf of all of its members and board of directors, the International Academy of Sciences sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” Adiba Qamar Al-Zaman, President of the International AIDS Society and Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Malaya, said in the IAS announcement on Wednesday.
“We owe Timothy and his physician Jero Hooter a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible,” the International Society of Science statement said.
His partner wrote that Brown “devoted his life’s work to telling his story of his HIV treatment and became an ambassador of hope.”
“I’m really lucky that we shared life together, but I’m sad that my hero is now gone,” he said. “Tim was really the sweetest person in the world. Tim’s spirit would live on and the love and support from family and friends would help me during this most difficult time.”
More than two years ago, Adam Castillejo – formerly known as the “London Patient” – completed antiretroviral therapy, making him the second person to recover from HIV.
Unlike Brown, Castillejo underwent only one stem cell transplant instead of two and did not receive whole-body radiotherapy as part of his treatment.
Gina Yu of CNN and Amy Woodyat contributed to this report.