Posted Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, at 5:23 PM
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
C. Everett Koop, who served as surgeon general under both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, died today in New Hampshire at the age of 96. There's been no official word on the cause of his death. Koop will probably be best remembered for his efforts to draw attention to the then-emerging problem of AIDS in the 1980s, as well as for his crusade against smoking. Here's the Associated Press with some more color:
Koop wielded the previously low-profile post of surgeon general as a bully pulpit.... An evangelical Christian, he shocked his conservative supporters when he endorsed condoms and sex education to stop the spread of AIDS. ... Koop's impact was great, although the surgeon general has no real authority to set government policy. He described himself as "the health conscience of the country."