Trailblazing HIV activist Hydeia Broadbent passes away aged 39

Hydeia Broadbent, who appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show at the age of just 11, had been a lifelong HIV and AIDS activist.

The image shows HIV and AIDS activist Hydeia Brodbent, who passed away suddenly. In the image she is sitting with her head tilted to the right. She is looking directly at the camera smiling. She has long wavy black hair. She is wearing it down, over her right shoulder. She is wearing a low-cut black bodice with a short-sleeved white light jacket over it.
Image: @hydeiabrodbent via Instagram

Lifelong HIV and AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent has tragically passed away. The 39-year-old was pronounced dead on February 20, 2024. 

Last Autumn, Broadbent was hospitalised and treated in ICU with suspected organ failure. However, she had since been reported to have been making a strong recovery and had been moved to a care facility where she was recuperating for the last couple of months. 

According to a family friend, she unexpectedly passed away in her room following breakfast on Tuesday. The cause of death is still unknown and will be determined by autopsy.

Announcing her death via Facebook, her father, Loren Broadbent, described how, in light of her recent illnesses, she had “remained determined to spread hope.”

He continued, “Our hearts are broken. Hydeia spent her whole life since the age of five showing us all how to love, fight, and speak up for those affected with HIV and AIDS. And as much as I wish she was still here fighting the great fight, God called her home. Letting us all know. Job well done.” 

In his Facebook post, Loren also announced that the family have launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover the funeral costs of Hydeia’s burial.

“In honor of her memory the family would like to lay her to rest. So at this time we are asking for donations. Along with well wishes and prayers. We would like to thank you in advance. Thank you, and let’s all keep her memory alive and continue the fight where she left off.”

Hydeia was adopted by Loren and Patricia Broadbent after being abandoned by her biological mother as an infant. By age four, her adoptive parents discovered she was HIV-positive and had developed AIDS. 

Patricia Broadbent had initially encouraged Hydeia to become an activist, prompting her to speak up publicly about her struggles with the illness, including brain fungus, blood infections, and pneumonia.

Hydeia Broadbent, who had been living with HIV since birth, came to public awareness as an activist at the age of just 11, when she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996. During the interview, she bravely discussed living with HIV and the challenges she had overcome since her diagnosis.

Since then, she dedicated her life to combating the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, including openly sharing her experience of depression and grieving for loved ones who had died during the height of the AIDS crisis.

If you would like to support the GoFundMe campaign, you can donate here.

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