‘How to Survive a Plague’ Interviewee Spencer Cox Has Died at Age 44
“You keep evolving and you keep progressing, you keep hoping until you die. Which is going to happen someday. You live your life as meaningful as you can make it.”
AIDS activist Spencer Cox, who spoke those words above, did keep evolving and progressing and living his life as meaningful as he could make it until his own death, which sadly happened this morning, according to filmmaker David France. Cox, a hero for his efforts for research and release of life-saving AIDS treatment, who appears prominently in France’s documentary How to Survive a Plague, was only 44.
“As an AIDS activist, he helped spearhead research on protease inhibitors and played a central role in bringing the drugs to market — and saving 8 million lives,” France wrote in a note quoted by Entertainment Weekly. “Over the years, he was a frequent and always brilliant source of mine, and a good friend.”
More from France on the life of his good friend can be found at Towelroad.com, including details of his work as a spokesman for ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and later a co-founder of TAG (Treatment Action Group), the histories of which are chronicled in the highly acclaimed (and hopefully Oscar-nominated) film. In tribute, France also released the following interview footage, an outtake from Plague, from which Cox’s quote up above is taken:
I recommend a piece that Cox wrote just over two months ago for Nightcharm. Here’s an excerpt where he leaves us with valuable advice:
The first time I saw the movie, spotting the marvelous Garance Franke-Ruta at a massive demonstration at the National Institutes of Health wearing a hat in the shape of a medicinal molecule and trimmed for emphasis with dollar bills, made me laugh so loudly I thought I would lose it. If I have one piece of advice for young, aspiring activists, it is to always hold on to the joy, always make it fun. If you lose that, you have lost the whole battle.
According to his byline bio there, he was “currently resuming a long-abandoned career as an actor and playwright, because life is to short not to have some musical comedy in it.”
His life was definitely too short but he achieved a lot in that little time. We thank him and give our condolences to his loved ones. Rest in peace, Spencer.