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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 pneumonia and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy on Sunday 4 July 1982.
In his memory, Martyn Butler and Rupert Whitaker (Higgins' partner) initiated the formation of the Terry Higgins Trust (later renamed the Terrence Higgins Trust) in 1982 with a group of concerned community-members and Terry's friends, including Tony Calvert[who?]; it was dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV, promoting awareness of AIDS, and providing supportive services to people with the disease.
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