Dr. Joep Lange, a leading AIDS researcher and the executive scientific director of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, died alongside 297 other passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over Ukraine last Thursday. The disaster claimed the life of several other passengers headed to the International AIDS Conference as well, including Lange’s partner Jacqueline van Tongeren.
Lange was a pioneer in the early years of the AIDS crisis, and much of his work – which included both clinical research and medical diplomacy – involved making H.I.V. treatments available in the developing world.
“My friend always tried to be there where politics and humanity were at odds with each other,” said Onno Schellekens, managing director of the Investment Fund for Health in Africa. “Maybe I’m being philosophical, but dying by being shot down by rebels in a way symbolized his life.”
Read more about Lange and other Flight 17 passengers who shared his cause in this New York Times obituary .