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Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop dead at 96

Published On: Feb 25 2013 04:01:29 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 25 2013 04:08:00 PM CST

United States National Library of Medicine

HANOVER, N.H. -

C. Everett Koop, who raised the profile of the nation's surgeon general by speaking frankly about AIDS and the dangers of smoking, has died in New Hampshire. He was 96. 

An assistant at Koop's Dartmouth institute, Susan Wills, says he died Monday. She hasn't disclosed his cause of death.

Surgeons general before Koop were low-profile, but Koop operated from a bully pulpit for seven years during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies.

He endorsed condoms and sex education to stop the spread of AIDS, a disease that was identified the same year he was nominated - 1981. The efforts met substantial opposition from conservatives and countered widespread disinformation on the new disease.