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Sean Sasser

MTV

Sean Sasser, of The Real World: San Francisco, died at age 44, his friend and former castmate Judd Winick confirmed Tuesday.

"Our friend Sean Sasser has died. Our love goes out to his family & husband Michael," Winick tweeted. "We will miss u so much."

Sasser was introduced to the spotlight in the early '90s and known for dating Real World star Pedro Zamora. Zamora's battle with HIV and AIDS brought international attention to a then-taboo topic, which was covered at length on MTV up until his death at age 22.

Sean Sasser Collage

Twitter

Sasser, who exchanged rings with Zamora in a televised commitment ceremony, became an AIDS activist leading up to and after his Pedro's death.

He later became a pastry chef and found love again with partner Michael Kaplan. Kaplan told Queerty Sasser died of mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lungs.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.