Former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who railed against smoking and spoke frankly about AIDS, died Monday at age 96.
No cause of death was immediately released.
Named to the post by former President Ronald Reagan in 1982, Koop led a crusade against smoking and hoped to rid Americans of the habit by 2000.
He called cigarettes as addictive as heroin and cocaine, according to the AP.
Koop also brought the newly-emerging disease known as AIDS into the forefront of the American conscience, endorsing condoms and sex education for children as young as third grade to stop the spread of the illness.
In 1988, he wrote a brochure about AIDS that was sent to 107 million households in America, making it the largest public health mailing ever, CNN reported.
Koop was personally opposed to homosexuality, however, as well as abortion.
Born in 1916 in Brooklyn, he was a practicing physician for 35 years before becoming surgeon general.
Koop left the post in 1989.