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Born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Higgins left Haverfordwest as a teenager due to feeling alienated by his sexuality. He lived in London and worked as a Hansard reporter in the House of Commons during the day and as a nightclub barman and disk jockey in the evenings. He travelled to New York and Amsterdam as a DJ in the 1970s. Higgins collapsed at the nightclub Heaven while at work and was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital, London where he died of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy on Sunday 4 July 1982.
In his memory, Martyn Butler,[who?] Tony Calvert,[who?] and Dr. Rupert Whitaker (Higgins' partner) set up The Terry Higgins Trust (later renamed the Terrence Higgins Trust) in 1982, dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV and promoting awareness of AIDS. Whitaker went on to study medicine and became a medical scientist working on HIV and AIDS related illness.
References and sources
- "Terrence Higgins" in Robert Aldrich & Garry Wotherspoon. (Eds.) Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day, Volume 2. London: Routledge, 2001, pp. 187-188. ISBN 041522974X