Celebrities who have battled HIV/AIDS


While Charlie Sheen revealed his HIV-positive diagnosis on the "Today" show in November 2015, he is hardly the first celebrity to announce such a diagnosis. With Dec. 1 marking World AIDS Day, click on to see which other celebrities have battled HIV/AIDS over the years. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Rock Hudson, known for his leading man roles in the 1950s and '60s, was diagnosed with HIV in June 1984 but kept his diagnosis a secret until his publicist confirmed it in July 1985. He died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Hills in October 1985, becoming the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.

Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson announced on Nov. 7, 1991, that he had tested positive for HIV and was retiring immediately. Johnson initially said that he did not know how he contracted the disease, but later acknowledged that it was through having multiple sexual partners during his playing career. Despite his retirement, Johnson would play in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, earning MVP honors after recording 25 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and attempt an aborted comeback before the 1992-93 season, before actually returning for the last 32 games of the 1995-96 NBA season.

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Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was 45 when he died of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS on Nov. 24, 1991, only one day after publicly acknowledging he had the disease.

In 1992, retired tennis great Arthur Ashe announced that he was HIV-positive, acquired from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries. After his diagnosis, Ashe (seen here in 1975) began working to educate others about HIV and AIDS. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death from AIDS-related pneumonia on Feb. 6, 1993.

Rapper Eazy-E, the rap pioneer who helped establish gangsta rap in the 1980s with the group N.W.A., died on March 26, 1995, due to complications from AIDS at the age of 31 in Los Angeles. Eazy, whose real name was Eric Lynn Wright, was admitted to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 24, 1995, with what he believed to be asthma, but was instead diagnosed with AIDS.

"Brady Bunch" father Robert Reed hid the fact he was gay from the public, fearing it would damage his career. A week after his death from colon cancer in 1992, his death certificate revealed he had been infected with HIV and that it had contributed to his death.

Pianist and singer Liberace, at one time the highest-paid entertainer in the world, died of pneumonia caused by AIDS at age 67 on Feb. 4, 1987. The musician, whose full name as Wladziu Valentino Liberace, was as famous for his flamboyant costumes and stage manner as he was for his music. While there had been rumors prior to his death that he had contracted HIV, Liberace and everybody around him denied the diagnosis to his last days. His cause of death only came out -- against the wishes of his estate -- in an official autopsy report.

Diagnosed with HIV during the filming of "Psycho III," Anthony Perkins also kept his HIV diagnosis private, fearing the impact it could have on his career. He died at age 60 on Sept. 12, 1992, from AIDS-related pneumonia.

World-renowned ballet dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev, who died in 1993 at age 54, was still a very popular dancer around the world when he tested positive for HIV in 1984. He kept the diagnosis quiet, fearing countries would refuse him entry if it was public knowledge. After his death, his doctor revealed Nureyev, who had granted him permission to speak freely after his death, had AIDS.

Tommy Morrison retired from boxing in 1996 when he tested positive for HIV, but made a comeback a decade later, claiming he had since tested negative for HIV. Morrison, who lost only three out of a total of 52 professional fights and beat George Foreman for the vacant World Boxing Organization heavyweight championship in June 1993, also starred opposite Sylvester Stallone in 1990's "Rocky V." He died at age 44 on Sept. 1, 2013. While his mother had said less than a month before his death that Morrison was in his final days with "full-blown AIDS," his death certificate listed his causes of death as cardiac arrest, septicemia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and multiorgan failure.

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Pedro Zamora was a cast member on 1994's "The Real World: San Francisco" and shared his struggle with HIV/AIDS, which took his life in 1994. President Bill Clinton said the reality star "changed the face of HIV and AIDS in America forever."

Diver Greg Louganis won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on both the springboard and platform, with his 1988 achievement all the more memorable as it came after he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds. Louganis, who is openly gay, tested positive for HIV in 1988 and later recounted his story in a best-selling autobiography, "Breaking the Surface."

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Former "Who's the Boss?" child star Danny Pintauro was diagnosed as HIV-positive in March 2003. However, the actor, who came out in 1997 and got married in 2014, kept the diagnosis secret until revealing it in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in September 2015.

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Character actor Michael Jeter found out he was HIV-positive in 1996, and revealed his condition the following year. Best known for playing Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle on the "Elmo's World" segment of "Sesame Street," he also won an Emmy for his work on the 1990s sitcom "Evening Shade" and appeared in movies such as "The Fisher King," "Waterworld," "Air Bud," "The Green Mile" and "Jurassic Park III." He died of an epileptic seizure at age 50 on March 30, 2003.

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Actress Amanda Blake, best known for her 19-year stint as the saloon proprietress Miss Kitty Russell on the TV western "Gunsmoke," died from complications of AIDS at age 60 on Aug. 16, 1989.

When Russian-American author and biochemistry professor Isaac Asimov, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books, died at age 72 in April 1992, his family reported the cause of death to be heart and kidney failure. A decade after his death, his widow, Janet Asimov, revealed in an updated edition of his autobiography that the myocardial and renal complications were the result of an HIV infection, which he had contracted from a blood transfusion received during a bypass operation.