Photo: AP

Mathilde Krim, who was the founding chairwoman of the the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), died at her home in Kings Point, New York on Monday at the age of 91

Bennah Serfaty, a spokesperson for amfAR confirmed Krim’s death to the New York Times. AmfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole wrote in the foundation’s obituary for Krim that her “courageous leadership at a time when few were willing to confront this crisis has benefited lives globally, and will continue to inspire our commitment to find a cure.”

When early reported cases of AIDS began to surface in the ’80s, Krim, a geneticist and virologist with a background in cancer research, began to champion not only AIDS research but eliminating stigma surrounding the disease. The New York Times wrote in its obituary that, “Over the next several decades, [Krim] became America’s foremost warrior in the battle against superstitions, fears and prejudices that have stigmatized many people with AIDS, subjecting them to rejection and discrimination.”

In 1983, Krim helped found the AIDS Medical Foundation, which raised money for AIDS research and eventually merged with another foundation to form amfAR. According to the Times, the foundation has raised and invested around $517 million, and has contributed funds to thousands of programs.

Here’s a wonderful picture of Krim with Elizabeth Taylor, who was amfAR’s founding International Chairwoman.

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Krim lived a long and fascinating life, which I encourage you to read up on if you haven’t already.