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Elton John leads tributes as AIDS activist Larry Kramer dies aged 84

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Larry Kramer, the prominent gay rights and AIDS activist who was also an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, has died at the age of 84.

Kramer passed away yesterday (May 27) in New York at the age of 84 after a battle with pneumonia. The news of his death was confirmed by his close friend and literary executor Will Schwalbe.

Kramer’s work as a writer in the 1980s and 1990s is seen as instrumental in changing the US’s national health policy around the AIDS crisis, a disease that Kramer had contracted himself.

Kramer was renowned for his autobiographical 1985 play The Normal Heart, and he also co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis organisation in the early 1980s, the first organisation of its kind to support HIV-positive people.

Larry Kramer
Larry Kramer (Picture: Getty)

After being removed from the organisation soon after its inception, Kramer then founded the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) movement, who demanded quicker and more thorough research into AIDS drugs, as well as an end to discrimination against gay men and women.

Kramer was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Ken Russell’s 1969 film Women In Love. The Normal Heart was adapted by HBO for TV in 2014 in a series that starred Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parson and Julia Roberts.

In his written tribute to Kramer, Elton John remembered him as “a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior”.

Mark Ruffalo said that it was “the greatest honour” to have worked with Kramer, adding: “We lost a wonderful man and artist today. I will miss you. The world will miss you.”

Tributes to Kramer have also been posted by the likes of Joe Biden, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pearl Jam. You can see a selection of the tributes to Larry Kramer below.

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