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Former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Dies at 96

C. Everett Koop, the former U.S. surgeon general who raised his office's profile by tackling the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and the dangers of smoking, has died at the age of 96.

Koop's Dartmouth Institute announced his passing Monday, but did not disclose the cause of death. Koop was a pediatric surgeon who served as "America's doctor" from 1981 to 1989.

His nomination for surgeon general was opposed by certain interest groups who feared he would use the office to promote his conservative views, especially his anti-abortion stance. However, throughout his tenure Koop managed to avoid using the surgeon general's post to promote his ideology.

In fact, he is best remembered for his 1986 plainspoken report on AIDS in which he urged the use of condoms and sex education for school children. He mailed an educational AIDS pamphlet to households across America two years later.

Koop also made his mark during his tenure by launching a crusade to end smoking in the United States, which ultimately set the stage for widespread prohibitions today against smoking in public places across the country.

In the late 1990s, Koop became part-owner of a website designed to provide consumer health care information. However, the venture went bankrupt in 2001.

Koop was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 14, 1916. He is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

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