David Sharpton, co-founder of the People With AIDS Coalition of Utah, has died of complications related to the disease.
Mr. Sharpton died early Wednesday at a Dallas hospital. He was 32."He was in terrible pain," said his mother, Doreen Sharpton, "but was brave and courageous to the very end."
Mr. Sharpton had returned to Lancaster, Texas, in February as the disease progressed and had been hospitalized for two weeks. His mother and other family members were at his bedside.
As death approached, among those sending letters of support was Gov. Norm Bangerter. He cited Mr. Sharpton's "valiant effort to continue life to its fullest."
He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985.
Along with Tom Lindsey, he founded the Utah coalition and conducted a high-profile, public-information campaign.
"David felt people in the Salt Lake City area hadn't fully come to grips with the AIDS crisis," said Ken Verdoia, senior producer at KUED and producer of an upcoming documentary on Sharpton.
Some 3 1/2 years in the making, "Remembering David" will be aired nationally in September by PBS. The documentary "graphically shows how the disease claimed every aspect of this man, who once stood so tall," said Verdoia, who last visited Mr. Sharpton in Texas three weeks ago.
In 1988, Mr. Sharpton addressed the 7,000-member U.S. Conference of Mayors on behalf of the National Association of People With AIDS, with which the local coalition is affiliated.
"I have as much right as anyone to live and die with dignity," he said shortly after moving to Utah. "I will probably die of AIDS . . . but death is no longer my enemy."