Family and friends can finally pay tribute to 'Patient Zero'

First Briton to die from AIDS is revealed after 40 years: Family and friends can finally pay tribute to ‘Patient Zero’ guesthouse owner from Bournemouth whose rapid decline in health baffled medics

  • John Eaddie has been revealed as first recorded Briton to die from AIDS in UK in 1981
  • ITV’s Tonight programme investigated and found Mr Eaddie was first to die
  • Family and friends pay tribute to Mr Eaddie in documentary airing on Thursday 

The first recorded Briton to die from AIDS has been revealed after 40 years as family and friends can finally pay tribute to the ‘Patient Zero’ guesthouse owner from Bournemouth whose rapid decline in health baffled medics.

ITV’s Tonight programme has solved the mystery of the first person to die of AIDS in the UK in an exclusive documentary.

The show, which airs on Thursday November 11 at 7.30pm, reveals that John Eaddie was the first person to die of AIDS in the UK.   

London’s Brompton hospital reported to ‘The Lancet’ the first UK death of what became known as AIDS in November 1981. 

Mr Eaddie has been referred to as ‘The Brompton Patient’ and ‘Patient Zero’ since his death was reported and never been identified publicly until now.  

Paul Brand, UK editor, has done an investigation for ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme where he has discovered the details of Mr Eaddie and ended the mystery shrouding his identity. 

TV’s Tonight programme has solved the mystery of the first person to die of AIDS in the UK in an exclusive documentary. The show, which airs on Thursday November 11 at 7.30pm, reveals that John Eaddie (pictured) was the first person to die of AIDS in the UK

The team has traced Mr Eaddie’s family and friends from his life at the time and searched medical records to tell the untold story.

It means family and friends can finally pay tribute to him decades after his death.

He is remembered as a warm and fun-loving character by his friends who revealed how shocked doctors were by his rapid deterioration.

Mr Eaddie ran a guesthouse and friend Tony Pinnegar remembers him as a charming man who created the Bournemouth safe haven for gay men to meet and drink in the late 70s and early 80s.

Mr Pinnegar said, ‘John very quickly deteriorated and ended up in hospital in London. I remember going to see him.

‘We thought he was going to recover, but I remember the doctor saying, ‘He’s not going to survive’. He was just lying there unconscious, strapped up to machines. And that was it, we never spoke to him again.’

The film has finally given Mr Eaddie some humanity and his friends peace which was denied to them at the time.  

Mr Eaddie’s other friend Paul Wills said he suspected that he may have died from AIDS because of his symptoms.  

His friend said: ‘I think it’s nice that we now know. I think it’s quite fitting that John can be remembered, because there was such a stigma.’

The film has finally given Mr Eaddie (pictured) some humanity and his friends peace which was denied to them at the time

UK Editor, Mr Brand said: ‘My generation was born just another was being devastated by AIDS in the 1980s.

‘I was fortunate never to experience the terror of that time, but the images of patients dying painful and drawn-out deaths would haunt gay men like me for decades.

‘The stigma and shame surrounding AIDS meant that many of those men were very deliberately forgotten.

‘But with the support of those who knew John Eaddie, his name will finally be remembered.’

The programme ITV Tonight programme, ‘Searching for Patient Zero: Britain’s AIDS Tragedy’, will air at 19.30 on Thursday 11th November on ITV.

Mr Eaddie’s friend Paul Wills said he suspected that he may have died from AIDS because of his symptoms. Pictured: Mr Brand looks at pictures of Mr Eaddie in the new documentary

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