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Letter from Janet Asimov
Editor's note: The true cause of Isaac Asimov's death in 1992, from complications of HIV infection contracted from a 1983 blood transfusion during bypass surgery, was made public in March with advance publicity of a book, It's Been a Good Life, a one-volume autobiographical collection compiled by Janet Jeppson, Asimov's widow, who reveals the situation in the book. Locus Magazine's April issue ran the story with the following passage included: "Asimov reportedly wanted to reveal he had AIDS but was talked out of it at the time by his second wife, Janet Jeppson." The following is a letter from Janet (Jeppson) Asimov.

Dear Locus,

I hope no one will believe that, according to the article in Locus, Isaac Asimov "wanted to reveal he had AIDS but was talked out of it at the time by his second wife, Janet Jeppson." A few years after Isaac's bypass surgery, he had some symptoms that made me read the medical journals---and then I wanted him tested for HIV. The internist and cardiologist said I was wrong. Testing was done only when he was seriously ill and in the hospital for surgery on his by then infected heart valves. The surgery was cancelled, and the doctors told us not to reveal Isaac's HIV. I argued with the doctors privately about this secrecy, but they prevailed, even after Isaac died. The doctors are dead now, and when Prometheus books asked me to write "It's Been a Good Life", Isaac's daughter and I agreed to go public on the HIV.

Janet Asimov
4 April 2002


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