Family of former WHO director sends condolences in MH17 crash

The family of a former director of the World Health Organization’s AIDS program who was killed in a 1998 plane crash sent words of support and solidarity to those affected by the Malaysian airliner shot down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

Aaron Mann, Lydia Kline, and Naomi Mann, the children of Jonathan Mann, said in a statement they were heartbroken that more families had to endure such a loss. Numerous AIDS researchers and activists, including leading AIDS researcher Dr. Joep Lange of the Netherlands, were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and killed in the crash.

Mann, 51, and his wife, Mary Lou Clements-Mann, who was an expert on AIDS vaccines, were among seven United Nations employees and consultants killed in a Swissair crash off the coast of Canada in September 1998. They had been en route to Geneva for a World Health Organization meeting.


Mann was a Boston native who graduated from Harvard in 1969. He also spent part of his career at the Harvard School of Public Health and founded the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the university.

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“It is with great sadness that we learned of the tragedy of Malaysian Flight 17, and the impact that an air disaster has yet again had on the HIV/AIDS community,” Mann’s children wrote in a statement.

“Each life lost was a life working towards a better world for those with HIV/AIDS and we mourn this loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you and with the families who lost loved ones.”

Dr. Jonathan Mann.
file 1990
Dr. Jonathan Mann.

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at