AIDS activist Sean Sasser, whose on-screen marriage to late “Real World” star Pedro Zamora was a landmark moment in TV history, has died at age 44.
A friend of Zamora’s, fellow “Real World” castmate Judd Winick, announced the death on Tuesday on Twitter. “Our friend Sean Sasser has died,” he wrote “Our love goes out to his family and husband Michael. We will miss u so much.”
Our friend Sean Sasser has died. Our love goes out to his family & husband Michael. We will miss u so much. pic.twitter.com/2WsaChdcAQ
— Judd Winick. (@JuddWinick) August 8, 2013
Like Zamora, Sasser shared his HIV status with the world on the show and according to a report on Queerty, he died of a rare cancer of the lungs, mesothelioma.
The world was introduced to Sasser during the unforgettable third season of “The Real World,” where the San Francisco roommates helped put HIV/AIDS in the spotlight thanks to Zamora’s brave decision to share his status with the house.
In the penultimate episode of that season, Sasser and Zamora exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony that pre-dated legal gay marriages in California by nearly a decade. Zamora died in November 1994, just hours after the debut of the season finale. At the time of his death, Sasser lived in Washington, D.C. and was working as a pastry chef in the city, where his partner, Michael Kaplan, ran the AIDS United non-profit group.