Sean Sasser, 'Real World' Star and AIDS Activist, Dead at 44

Reality star died from mesothelioma

Sean Sasser, left, during the first White House conference on AIDS.
AP Photo/Joe Marquette
August 9, 2013 9:15 AM ET

Sean Sasser, whose relationship with Real World: San Francisco cast member Pedro Zamora made television history by breaking cultural barriers, died on Wednesday. According to MTV, Sasser died from mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer. He was 44. 

The 10 Dumbest Thing Ever Said About Gay Marriage

Sasser was not an original Real World cast member, but he became known to viewers as his relationship with Zamora blossomed in the series' third season. The couple exchanged vows on camera, making history as the first television broadcast of its kind, predating legal gay marriage in California.

Sasser had been HIV postitive for 25 years, was an HIV/AIDS activist and educator and revealed his diagnosis on the show in 1994. Zamora had been diagnosed with AIDS at the age of 17, and his health took a turn for the worse during the show's taping. Zamora died on November 11th, 1994 a few hours after the final episode of his Real World  season. Sasser was by his side.

At the time of his death, Sasser was living in Washington, D.C. and working as a pastry chef with his partner, Michael Kaplan.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Movies Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.