December 1st is world AIDS Day. On this day, we commemorate this killer disease and it’s now 31 years since it was discovered. Being a young generation that is very sexually active and faced with the highest risk of being infected with this disease, Insyder has always been on the forefront advocating for responsible sexual behaviors. AIDS has claimed lives, it’s claiming lives and here we take a look at top international celebrities who succumbed to it, or died when they had it (Most of them, shockingly, were young and at the top of their game) and those who have it and are still living.
- Eazy- E.
American rapper Easy-E, real names Eric Lynn Wright, died on March 1995 at the age of 31. He was a member of the N.W.A together with Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Arabian Prince and he was known as “The Godfather of Gangsta Rap“. Eazy-E grew from a mere drug seller to a renown rapper very famous not only in his hometown Compton, Los Angeles but the whole of US and beyond. Early 1995, Eazy-E was admitted in hospital for what he believed to be asthma due to his persistent coughing. He was however diagnosed with HIV/AIDS believed to have been acquired from one of his many sexual partners. A week before his death, Eazy-E wrote a very emotional letter to his fans:
I may not seem like a guy you would pick to preach a sermon. But I feel it is now time to testify because I do have folks who care about me hearing all kinds of stuff about what’s up.” “Yeah, I was a brother on the streets of Compton doing a lot of things most people look down on — but it did pay off. Then we started rapping about real stuff that shook up the LAPD and the FBI. But we got our message across big time, and everyone in America started paying attention to the boys in the ‘hood.” “Soon our anger and hope got everyone riled up. There were great rewards for me personally, like fancy cars, gorgeous women and good living. Like real non-stop excitement. I’m not religious, but wrong or right, that’s me.” “I’m not saying this because I’m looking for a soft cushion wherever I’m heading, I just feel that I’ve got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what’s real when it comes to AIDS. Like the others before me, I would like to turn my own problem into something good that will reach out to all my homeboys and their kin. Because I want to save their asses before it’s too late.”
“I’m not looking to blame anyone except myself. I have learned in the last week that this thing is real, and it doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone. My girl Tomika and I have been together for four years and we recently got married. She’s good, she’s kind and a wonderful mother. We have a lttle boy who’s a year old. Before Tomika I had other women. I have seven children by six different mothers. Maybe success was too good to me. I love all my kids and always took care of them.” “Now I’m in the biggest fight of my life, and it ain’t easy. But I want to say much love to those who have been down to me. And thanks for your support.” Just remember: “It’s YOUR real time and YOUR real life”.
Eazy-E passed away on 26th March of 1995, a week after writing this letter.
- Brenda Fassie.
She is regarded as one of the best talents ever to have cropped out of South Africa, an icon. Brenda died on May 18th 2004 of what was said to be a Cocaine overdose after being in coma for two weeks. The songbird had a myriad of controversies trailing her, from the lesbian allegations where a female lover died in her hotel room, her failed marriage to her raunchy dance moves. After her death, it was reported that the songstress had had HIV/AIDS. These revelations sparked protests from her fans in South Africa.
- Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti is a first cousin to Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka. He brought afrobeat type of music and was nominated for the Grammy awards four times, but what put him on the world map was his wives. Fela Kuti was a serious polygamist with 27 wives. Born in 1938, Kuti was sent to London to study medicine but he chose to study music instead.
On 3rd August 1997, Fela Kuti succumbed to AIDS, an announcement made a day later by his elder brother who was Nigeria’s minister of Health then.
- Makgatho Lewanika Mandela
South Africa is worst hit by the epidemic, with about 6 million people affected by the disease. Nelson Mandela announced on January 2005 that his son had died of HIV/AIDS. 54-year-old Lewanika was Mandela’s last surviving son, as Mandela’s other son had lost a son in 1969 while he was in Robben Island. He was a lawyer and had four kids but his wife had died two years before in what was said to be pneumonia.
- Magic Johnson.
Known as the best college basketball player in his time, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson shocked the world in 1991 when he announced that he was HIV positive before retiring from the game. Back then, there was a large perception that HIV/AIDS only affected gay men and Johnson’s revelation came as a shocker and an eye opener, since he wasn’t gay. He’s since gone to ahead to advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and is regarded highly.