Mathilde Krim, AIDS research pioneer, dies at 91

amfAR founding chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim attends amfAR's New York gala benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

(ABC News) — Mathilde Krim, a pioneer in the field of AIDS research, passed away Monday at the age of 91. She died peacefully at her home in King’s Point, New York.

Krim, founding chairman of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, devoted her life to the fight against HIV/AIDS, in particular raising the public’s awareness of the devastating disease according to her obituary.

“Today, we mourn the passing of our beloved Founding Chairman, Mathilde Krim, Ph.D.,” amfAR tweeted today. “As founding chairman, and chairman of the board from 1990 to 2004, she was the heart & soul of the organization, and guided it with extraordinary dedication.

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“Dr. Krim had such a profound impact on the lives of so many,” said amfAR Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost in a statement. “While we all feel a penetrating sadness at the loss of someone we loved so deeply, it is important to remember how much she gave us and the millions for whom she dedicated her life. There is joy to be found in knowing that so many people alive today literally owe their lives to this great woman.”

According to amfAR, she was “a driving force behind legislation that expanded access to lifesaving treatment and behind efforts to scale up federal funding for AIDS research” and in 2000 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Dr. Krim’s courageous leadership at a time when few were willing to confront this crisis has benefited lives globally and will continue to inspire our commitment to find a cure,” said amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole.

She is survived by her sister, her daughter and two grandchildren.

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