Many "Real World" housemates have captured viewers' attention throughout the show's history, but none have made an impact quite like Pedro Zamora.
Today, November 11, marks 20 years since the HIV/AIDS activist lost his courageous battle with the disease in 1994. It was that very same year fans were first introduced to the then-22-year-old Cuban-American on "Real World: San Francisco," coming to know him as a man determined to educate others on life with AIDS and, most importantly, fight against the stigma associated with the disease -- a determination "Real World" co-creator and executive producer Jonathan Murray knew would resonate.
"From the beginning, 'The Real World' was about diversity, and we always wanted to make the show as diverse as possible," Murray said in an exclusive statement to MTV News. "With Pedro, we brought an openly gay, HIV-positive man into households across America -- something that had never been done before. When we cast Pedro, we knew he was someone special, but we had no idea the impact he would have on our society, our culture and putting a face on AIDS. We're proud to have helped introduce him to the world, and we're proud that 20 years later, his impact is still being felt."
Throughout the season, viewers tuned in to see Pedro's pioneering story unfold as cameras filmed everything from his educational keynotes to his union with Sean Sasser:
"The world lost a hero. His family lost more," Judd wrote about his late friend today on Facebook, with the photo below. "And, like the many he fought for, Pedro was deprived the long life he deserved. He changed how people think AND feel. We can honor him by continuing to listen, to learn, and to grow."
Judd continued his heartwarming commemoration to Pedro on Twitter, posting a few throwback photos of their days together in Fog City:
It's not the first time Judd has honored his fallen friend: Just last year, he and Pam chatted with MTV to reflect on their close friendship with Pedro and Sean -- and their universal appeal to "Real World" fans:
"I think that people really responded to the fact that Sean and Pedro put their story right out there," Pam said. "They [were] really honest, and it's hard to ignore that. I think people connected with them, not just living with HIV, but who they were as people."
What was your favorite memory of Pedro on the "Real World"? Tell us in the comments below.