Six other celebrities who revealed HIV/Aids diagnoses
• In July 1985, actor Rock Hudson announced that he had been diagnosed with HIV in 1984, and had Aids.
A month after the initial announcement, a press release issued by Hudson’s representatives speculated that he may have contracted HIV through blood transfusions needed for a heart bypass in 1981.
Hudson died from Aids-related complications in October 1985. The Pillow Talk and Dynasty star was one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men and, following his death, friends revealed that he had kept the fact that he was gay a secret from the public.
• Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive during a press conference in 1991.
He said: “I plan on going on living for a long time, bugging you guys like I always do...
“I will now become a spokesman for the HIV virus, because I want young people to realise they can practise safe sex. Sometimes you’re naive about it, and you think it could never happen to you...
“It has happened, but I’m going to deal with it, and my life will go on.”
He set up the Magic Johnson Foundation after revealing his HIV status, and has been an active campaigner in educating people about the disease.
• Queen lead vocalist Freddie Mercury died from Aids-related causes in November 1991, just days after publicly speaking about his condition for the first time.
In his first statement about his illness, he said: “Following enormous conjecture in the press, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV-positive and have Aids. I felt it correct to keep this information private in order to protect the privacy of those around me.
“However, the time has now come for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth, and I hope everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”
• American tennis star Arthur Ashe was the first black player to win Wimbledon. Ashe believed he had contracted HIV through a blood transfusion needed during heart bypass surgery in 1983.
He was first made aware of his HIV status when he had to have emergency brain surgery in New York in 1988. He died from Aids-related pneumonia in 1993 at the age of 49.
• Erasure’s Andy Bell announced in 2004 that he had been HIV-positive for six years.
Talking about his decision to go public, he told the Guardian: “A few years before, some newspapers had been going to publish stories saying I was HIV when I wasn’t. We had to threaten them with lawyers.
“So when I did catch it, I thought honesty was the best way to protect myself. It was on MTV for a bit and then it just died down. People tend to brush those things under the carpet.”
• Actor Michael Jeter, best known for his role as Mr Noodle in Sesame Street, found out he was HIV-positive in 1996, and revealed his condition the following year.
He died in March 2003 aged 50, and reports said he died of natural causes. Jeter won an Emmy for his role in Evening Shade, and had been working on The Polar Express.