Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, 96, died today.
Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin called Koop, who served from January 1982 until October 1989, a friend and mentor.
"Today, America lost an extraordinary physician, public servant, and great American; I, like many others, lost a mentor and a friend," Benjamin said. "Dr. Koop proved to be an outspoken advocate on public health issues. The problem of tobacco was one that he attacked particularly vigorously.- As the nation began to recognize AIDS as a new and deadly disease, Surgeon General Koop became an influential voice in educating Americans. Dr. Koop released "Understanding AIDS," a U.S. Public Health Service brochure based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which was sent to 107 million households in the United States in 1988, the largest public health mailing ever done. When I assumed the role of surgeon general, Dr. Koop sat down with me on what would become the first of numerous occasions to offer guidance and support. We often prayed together."