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Timothy Ray Brown: World’s first person cured of HIV dies of cancer aged 54

The so-called 'Berlin Patient' died in Palm Springs on Tuesday (29 September).

By Jamie Tabberer

Timothy Ray Brown, the first person cured of HIV, has died from cancer.

Brown, who received a bone marrow transplant from a donor naturally resistant to HIV in the 00s, died in Palm Springs yesterday. He was 54.

A post on his Facebook page written by his partner Tim Hoeffgen reads: “It is with great sadness that I announce that Timothy passed away at 3:10 pm this afternoon surrounded by myself and friends, after a 5 month battle with leukaemia.”

Hoeffgen added: “I am truly blessed that we shared a life together but I’m heartbroken that my hero is now gone. Tim was truly the sweetest person in the world. Tim’s spirit will live on and the love and support from family and friends will help me through this most difficult time.

“Celebrate Tim’s life and always have Hope.”


It is with great sadness that I announce that Timothy passed away at 3:10 pm this afternoon surrounded by myself and…

Posted by Timothy Ray Brown on Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Brown became anonymously known as ‘The Berlin patient’ when his cure was first announced at the 2008 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

He decided to go public with his identity in 2010.

After the transplant – which involved destroying his bone marrow, which was producing the cancerous cells – Ray Brown no longer needed anti-viral drugs as levels of HIV in his blood fell to undetectable levels, leaving him effectively cured. He remained free of HIV for the rest of his life.

Explaining more about Brown’s health journey, Hoeffgen further outlined in the Facebook post: “Timothy lived in Berlin from 1993 to 2010 with his former partner Michael Dastner while he worked in a cafe, and he was a German- English translator. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 and then in 2007 he was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukaemia). He had two stem cell transplants that put his AML into remission and cured his HIV with the CCR5 delta 32 deletion.”

Brown’s leukaemia returned this year and spread to his brain and spinal cord.

Earlier this year it was reported that Adam Castillejo had become the world’s second man to be cured of HIV.

(top image: Twitter)