Spencer Cox, world renowned AIDS activist, and co-founder of the Treatment Action Group (TAG), died Tuesday morning from AIDS related conditions at Allen Hospital in Manhattan, according to his brother, Nick Cox.
He was 44 years young.
Beginning his gay activism at age 20, he was the primary spokesman for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), through its heyday during the early 1990s.
His accomplishments and successes within the LGBT community, as well as the scientific community currently seeking a cure for the HIV/AIDS virus, are well documented.
An excerpt from his obituary, written by ACT UP Producer/Director David France, indicates that Spencer had “schooled himself in the basic science of AIDS and became something of an expert, a citizen scientist whose ideas were sought by working scientists. In the end, Spencer wrote the drug trial protocol which TAG proposed for testing the promising protease inhibitor drugs in 1995. Adopted by industry, it helped develop rapid and reliable answers about the power of those drugs, and led to their quick approval by the FDA.”
TAG Executive Director Mark Harrington commented, “Spencer single-handedly sped up the development and marketing of the protease inhibitors, which currently are saving 1 million lives,” adding, “he was absolutely brilliant, just off the charts brilliant.”
David France, who produced and directed the documentary, How to Survive a Plague, often spoke of Cox’s role in fighting against the disease.
“You live your life As meaningful as you can make it,” Cox said in the documentary, “you live it and don’t be afraid of who is going to like you or are you being appropriate. You worry about being kind. You worry about being generous. And if it’s not about that, what the hell’s it about?”
The world has lost a pioneering activist in the fight against the HIV/AIDS virus, a true hero and role model for the LGBT community, and he will be sorely missed.
Funeral services are private.
Cox is survived by his brother and his mother.
A memorial service in his honor will be held on January 20th in New York City.
Article by Jim Donahue