Aids survivor dies after 14-year struggle

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The Independent Online
Christopher Keegan, who was believed to be the longest surviving person with Aids, has died at the age of 49.

Mr Keegan, who was diagnosed with full-blown Aids in 1983 and given only six months to live, died in hospital on Remembrance Sunday.

For the past 14 years, Mr Keegan had been a tireless campaigner for Aids and tried every new drug available in a bid to help research into the disease. He always took part in the annual Walk for Life, organised by the charity Crusaid, and, until last year, was proud to finish the 10- kilometre walk on foot.

Before he became ill, Mr Keegan lived in Amsterdam working in the record business and making commercial videos. But after he was diagnosed with Aids he "came home to die".

His mother, Pamela Boville, said: "He went into his bedroom and for several weeks he would not get out of bed or even draw back the curtains, and then one morning he suddenly decided he was not going to give in, and almost went on a crusade.

"He proceeded to try every new drug that was going and began to feel very positive."

Mr Keegan (above) met Diana, Princess of Wales, several times and said that she encouraged him to keep going. He was deeply upset by her death this year. Mrs Boville said the Princess often came to visit and he thought she was wonderful.

Kate Gibbs, a close friend of Mr Keegan, said he had an "extraordinary zest" for life. "He was full of life and really showed everyone that it was possible to live well with Aids," she said. "He always said it was not going to kill him and I think the fact that he devoted himself to campaigning gave him a real purpose in life. Even last week he was talking about what he wanted to do for Christmas."

The funeral will be held at the Holy Innocents Church, Paddenswick Road, Hammersmith, west London, on Tuesday at 12 noon. All donations will go to St Stephen's Aids Trust for Research at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.