Joep Lange, one of the best HIV experts in the world, has been named as one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 being shot down.
Lange was en route to the 20th international AIDS Conference, AIDS 2014, which is scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia from July 20 through July 25.
Friends and colleagues of Dr. Lange have taken to social media websites to express condolences for the researcher.
U.S doctor Seema Yasmin described him as “a kind man and a true humanitarian.”
“I find out someone I’ve known at least half my life was on the plane. #MH17,” she wrote. “How do we measure how much a person has done for humanity? People like Joep change the course of epidemics.”
Science journalist Marin Enserink added that he’s heard Lange was indeed on board.
Yvette Felming, manager of Stop Aids Now, said that there were other colleagues on board the plane.
“In shock! Lucie van Mens, Martine de Schutter, Pim de Kuijer, Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren never arrived in Melbourne! ” she added.
AIDS 2014 hasn’t confirmed that Lange was on board but did issue a statement.
“The International AIDS Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today,” it said.
“At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”