Death of top AIDS researcher brings memories of 1998 crash

Joep Lange, former president of the International AIDS Society, died Thursday. Lange's death reminded some of the loss of top AIDS researcher Jonathan Mann, also a humanist and leading AIDS researcher who was dean of what is now Drexel University School of Public Health, in a 1998 plane crash off Nova Scotia.
Joep Lange, former president of the International AIDS Society, died Thursday. Lange's death reminded some of the loss of top AIDS researcher Jonathan Mann, also a humanist and leading AIDS researcher who was dean of what is now Drexel University School of Public Health, in a 1998 plane crash off Nova Scotia. (AP)
Posted: July 20, 2014

The AIDS community mourned the loss of one of its top researchers and advocates in the jet crash in Ukraine, a "humanist" whose life - and death - reminded some of the death of another leading AIDS scientist, from Philadelphia, in a plane crash 16 years ago.

Six delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference - down from initial reports of 100 - were confirmed to have been on the plane, shot down en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was scheduled to continue to Australia, where 14,000 people, including former President Bill Clinton, are expected at the conference, opening Sunday in Melbourne.

Former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange and his partner Jacqueline van Tongeren were among the dead.

"Joep was a wonderful person - a great professional . . . but more than that, a wonderful human being," said Francoise-Barre-Sinoussi, who was awarded a Nobel prize for discovering HIV.

"He was a true advocate on the part of HIV-infected people," said Kathleen Squires, director of infectious diseases at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

"How ironic is it that another plane crash killed a leading figure, as with Jonathan Mann," said Ellen M. Tedaldi, director of Temple University Hospital's HIV program.

Mann, the first director of UNAIDS and pioneer of the movement to link health and human rights, died in a Swissair crash off Nova Scotia in 1998, en route to global AIDS meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. He was nine months into his tenure as director of the new School of Public Health at Allegheny University, now Drexel.

"Not since the loss of Jonathan Mann and his wife . . . has the HIV/AIDS research community suffered such a great loss," said Robin Weiss, of University College London.


dsapatkin@phillynews.com

215-854-2617

@DonSapatkin

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|