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Statement from Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin on the passing of former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

Monday, February 25, 2013
Contact: OASH Press Office
(202) 205-0143

Today, America lost an extraordinary physician, public servant, and great American; I, like many others, lost a mentor and a friend.

As surgeon general from January 1982 until October 1989, 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.

The nation and the world will miss a most notable public health figure.