Sean Sasser on "The Real World" (credit: MTV/CBS News)

Sean Sasser on “The Real World” (credit: MTV/CBS News)

(CBS NEWS) – AIDS activist Sean Sasser, who rose to fame on season 3 of MTV’s “The Real World,” has died. He was 44.

His friend, “The Real World: San Francisco” co-star Judd Winick, announced the news via Twitter on Tuesday:

Sasser’s partner, Michael Kaplan, followed up Wednesday with a post on Facebook: “With broken heart over the loss of my life mate — I share the news that Sean Franklin Sasser passed away early this evening, August 7, 2013. Having lived for 25 years with HIV, at the age of 44, Sean died after a short but difficult battle with Mesothelioma.”

Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer.

Sasser had dated Pedro Zamora, one of the cast members on “The Real World,” in 1994. The pair exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony which aired that same season. Diagnosed with HIV at age 17, Zamora became an AIDS activist whose story was told on the MTV reality series. During the show’s taping, Zamora’s heath started failing; he died at age 22 on Nov. 11, 1994, just after the season finale aired.

According to the Miami Herald, Sasser had been living in Washington, D.C., and was working as a pastry chef in the city.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

(photo credit: MTV/CBS News)


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