Magic Johnson leads tributes to HIV advocate Hydeia Broadbent, who was born with the virus and died on Monday.
Broadbent shocked the nation at the age of 11 when she shared her heartbreaking story of being diagnosed HIV with Oprah in 1996 making the host cry.
Johnson, who has also had HIV and first announced it in 1991, interviewed the future activist four years before Oprah on her show ‘A Conversation with Magic Johnson.’
At the time he was only seven years old, but even at that young age he was already beginning his journey to raise awareness and inspire millions.
Broadbent dedicated his life to addressing the stigma surrounding the virus.
Johnson took to social media to pay a very touching tribute to his old friend, offering his condolences and sharing his thoughts.
I had known her for more than 30 years.
Magic Johnson comforted young Hydeia Broadbent when she cried talking about her virus on the show back in 1992; At just seven years old, she had already become an HIV advocate.
Johnson and Broadbent at a music event in 2006, 14 years after they met on her show.
He wrote: “I am devastated to hear of the passing of an incredible young woman, activist and hero, Hydeia Broadbent.
Broadbent’s HIV was first discovered when he was three years old. She became AIDS when she was five years old, a few years before meeting the basketball player and activist on her show.
Actress and Broadbent’s childhood friend Jurnee Smollett also paid tribute, saying she was a pioneer.
Smollett said, “I thank God for his light, his will.”
“I will miss his laugh, his dancing, his cheerful smile that lit up his beautiful big cheeks, his terrible taste in television shows, his hilarious way of making fun that I am actually a boring nerd inside, our walks listening to music. very much strong, the tears we shed over heartbreaks, the way he wore his heart on his sleeve and couldn’t finish a motivational talk without crying at some point.
‘Courage was his middle name. A literal goddess with otherworldly strength. The heart of a warrior who fought until the end. May you rest beautiful.’
Broadbent’s biological mother was a drug addict and abandoned her in a Las Vegas hospital after her birth. When she was ten months old, Patricia and Loren Broadbent adopted her.
Loren Broadbent announced the death of her daughter on Facebook and said she had “remained determined to spread hope.”
TOaccording to Kimberley R. McCoyBroadbent, a family member, was on dialysis and life support last year.
‘It is with great sadness that I must inform everyone that our dear friend, mentor and daughter Hydeia, passed away today after living with (HIV) since birth.
After learning of the girl’s ordeal, Winfrey began crying during the interview.
Broadbent had since become an HIV/AIDS advocate and dedicated her life to addressing the stigma surrounding the virus, especially during the AIDS crisis in the US in the 1990s, when that diagnosis meant a sure death.
Hydeia Broadbent rose to global fame at the age of 11 when she shared her heartbreaking story of being diagnosed with HIV with Winfrey on her eponymous show in 1996.
But on February 20, Loren Broadbent announced her daughter’s death on Facebook and said she had “remained determined to spread hope.”
“Despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life, Hydeia remained determined to spread hope and positivity through HIV/AIDS education,” the grieving father wrote on the social media page.
Shortly after being abandoned by her birth mother, who was a drug addict, in Nevada as a child, Broadbent was adopted by Loren and Patricia Broadbent.
Until she was six years old, the girl accompanied her mother, a social worker, as she raised awareness about HIV and soon after she began talking to people about the disease herself.
During her appearance on Oprah, Broadbent revealed that living with the disease was the hardest part of life for her and explained the problems it had caused her.
On Oprah’s show in 1996, Broadbent went into detail about the effect the virus is having on her life, and it brought the host to tears.
She said: ‘He had brain fungus, blood infections and pneumonia. I wore cold blue a couple of times and that was when I was five.
‘Many of my friends have died of AIDS. Because I have no other option. And I see so many people living recklessly. Simply risking their lives. At what point do we get it?
‘It’s not just about HIV and AIDS. We have to address a person’s mental state because if I don’t feel good and I’m not happy and I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m not going to take these pills to save my life.’
Winfrey expressed herself during the interview.
His father launched a GoFundMe for Broadbent.
‘Hello, I’m Loren Broadbent, Hydeia Broadbent’s father. Yesterday afternoon Hydeia passed away unexpectedly. Our hearts are broken.
‘Hydeia spent her entire life from the age of five showing us all how to love, fight and defend those affected by HIV and AIDS.
‘And as much as I wish she was still here fighting the great battle, God called her home. Letting us all know. Work well done.
‘In honor of his memory, the family wishes to bury him. So right now we are asking for donations. Along with good wishes and prayers. We would like to thank you in advance.’
crowdfunding page has raised $3,438 of its $20,000 goal.
Broadbent told Oprah in the 1996 interview that people’s mental state must be addressed.
On her 34th birthday, Broadbent wrote a post on her website celebrating the milestone as a member of “the first generation of children born HIV positive.”
Her father has launched a GoFundMe for Broadbent to “lay her to rest.”
Despite being a passionate activist, Broadbent was open about her personal struggles with mental health.
When he turned 34, he wrote an entry on his website that said: ‘These last few years have been extremely difficult; fight against depression, which reached terrifying points.
‘A depression so dark I wasn’t sure how I would ever see the beauty of life again. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to get up. Now I have a new perspective, I can now see the blessings and lessons of my valley. I am a warrior, I rise every day, with a purpose, while still being a work in progress.’
The AIDS pandemic began in 1981 and throughout the 1990s, as it continued to sweep the United States, that diagnosis meant certain death.