It was 30 years ago this week that federal health officials first reported on a rare and deadly illness they called AIDS. Since then millions have died of it, including these celebrities.
A leading man in the romantic comedies of the 1950s and 1960s, actor Rock Hudson was among the first celebrities to die of AIDS-related diseases. His Oct. 2, 1985, death at age 59 led his friend and "Giant" co-star Elizabeth Taylor to spend the rest of her life raising funds for AIDS research.
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Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, is seen here on Sept. 18, 1984, during a concert at the Palais Omnisports in Paris. Mercury was 45 when he died on Nov. 24, 1991, just days after quelling rampant speculation by admitting that he was HIV positive and had contracted AIDS.
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Anthony Perkins, who gave a career-defining performance as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," died on Sept. 12, 1992, from complications of AIDS. He was 60 years old and was rumored to have had affairs with a number of Hollywood's male stars.
Credit: Universal Pictures
Actress Amanda Blake, seen here with "Gunsmoke" co-stars Dennis Weaver, James Arness and Milburn Stone, was 60 when she died died on Aug. 16, 1989. Although she had throat cancer at the time at her death, it is widely believed that she had contracted the HIV virus from her ex-husband and had died of AIDS related complications.
Actor Robert Reed, seen in this 1981 photo, played father Mike Brady on the popular sitcom "The Brady Bunch." His death on May 12, 1992, at age 59, was widely attributed to AIDS, but while he tested positive for HIV, medial officials said he did not appear to have AIDS.
Ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev, seen here in a 1988 photo, was suffering from an advanced case of AIDS when he died on Jan. 6, 1993, at age 54. The Russian-born Nureyev, considered one of the premiere dancers of his time, defected to the West in the middle of his career.
British actor and director Tony Richardson, ex-husband of Vanessa Redgrave and father of Joely Richardson and the late Natasha Richardson, died of AIDS in 1991. He won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for his 1963 movie "Tom Jones."
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Former tennis player Arthur Ashe addresses a 1992 World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on the World AIDS Day. Ashe, who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, spoke out on AIDS issues until his death on Feb. 6, 1993. He was 49.
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Sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, seen in this 1984 photo, contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during heart bypass surgery. The cause of his April 6, 1992, death was listed as heart and kidney failure but 10 years later his widow revealed that both those causes were AIDS related.
Artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was just 42 when he died on March 9, 1989, of AIDS complications. Since his death, his Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation has raised millions of dollars for medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV.
Credit: Mapplethorpe Foundation
Liberace, the piano virtuoso who became known as Mr. Showmanship, is shown with Elvis Presley at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in November 1956. His death at the age of 67 on Feb. 4, 1987, was not listed as AIDS related, but several years later, it became known that the performer had been HIV positive for several years before he died.
Actor Michael Jeter, seen at the Casting Society of America's Artios Awards Oct. 4, 2001, in Los Angeles, was a Tony-winning Broadway actor who also picked up an Emmy for his role in "Evening Shade." The HIV-positive Jeter was only 50 when he was found dead at home on March 30, 2003.