August 09, 2013 06:08 PM by Stephanie Gustafson
Following a long battle with AIDS and a much shorter (but equally distressing) fight with mesothelioma, Real World star Sean Sasser has passed away at the age of 44. Although his health struggles were well documented on television, Sean’s death still comes as a shock to friends, family members and fans all around the world.
Sean Sasser broke ground in a number of ways, participating in the very first commitment ceremony broadcast on live television and later convincing viewers that AIDS sufferers are not inherently awful people. One of the original cast members on this influential reality series, Sean found himself the subject of much media interest and an equal level of scrutiny as his developing relationship with fellow Real World figure Pedro Zamora was explored in depth.
Pedro and Sean’s close relationhip was evident from the beginning and by season three, had been cemented in a memorable exchange of vows. Sadly, Pedro, also diagnosed with AIDS, passed away in 1994, shortly after the final episode of the show’s third season. As fellow Real World star Judd Winick explained in 1997, “This wasn’t a romantic death. It wasn’t a heroic death. It was horrible, and Sean couldn’t do anything except watch it happen.”
The same can be said for Sean Sasser’s death — there’s absolutely nothing romantic about it. Sean leaves behind Michael Kaplan, a loving life partner who shared a Washington home with Sean. According to Michael, Sean was diagnosed with mesothelioma just a month ago, following a much longer struggle with AIDS that had left him susceptible to such a physically devastating disease.
Our hearts go out to Michael Kaplan and the rest of Sean Sasser’s loved ones. We wish them peace and healing during this difficult time.
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Photo Credit: MTV