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C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Fought Against Smoking, AIDS, Dies

C. Everett Koop, known as America's Family Doctor during his tenure as surgeon general from 1981 to 1989, died today at his home in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth announced.

He was 96.

Koop made a name for himself for the surprising stands he took during the AIDS epidemic, as well as for his efforts fighting for a smoke-free country.

The Associated Press reports:

"Koop wielded the previously low-profile post of surgeon general as a bully pulpit for seven years during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

"An evangelical Christian, he shocked his conservative supporters when he endorsed condoms and sex education to stop the spread of AIDS.

"He carried out a crusade to end smoking in the United States — his goal had been to do so by the year 2000. A former pipe smoker, he said cigarettes were as addictive as heroin and cocaine."

USA Today reports Koop offered his findings on AIDS in a "plain-spoke 36-page document" that detailed how the disease spreads and how it doesn't.

"An eight-page version was mailed to every American household in 1988," USA Today reports.

In his life after being surgeon general, Koop founded the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth in an effort to address "critical health care issues."

"Dr. Koop has had a profound influence on the health of all of us in our nation," Wiley W. Souba, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, said in a statement. "He constantly reminded us of the important lessons that he learned in his professional life of caring for children that could show us how to provide health care for people of all ages."

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