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Woman at Center of AIDS-Tainted Blood Fight Dies

June 3, 1995

TORONTO (AP) _ Rochelle Pittman, who won a lawsuit over AIDS-tainted blood transfusions and became a prominent activist after contracting the disease, has died of AIDS-related complications at 57.

Mrs. Pittman’s husband contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion during heart surgery in 1984, and passed on the disease to her. He died in 1990.

A judge ruled last year that a Toronto doctor and hospital failed to do enough to inform Mrs. Pittman and her husband that he received tainted blood. The court awarded her $500,000.

During her court fight, Mrs. Pittman sat on education committees and campaigned to stop discrimination against people with AIDS.

She died Wednesday night at her suburban Toronto home, a day after slipping into a coma. She was surrounded by her four children and grandchildren.

``She was a beacon of hope, with her fighting spirit, for all,″ said Santo Caira, 42, a hemophiliac who has AIDS and met Mrs. Pittman at a retreat for people with the disease.

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