St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

One of Ray brothers with AIDS is dying

Robert Ray, 22, is in critical condition at All Children's Hospital.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Robert Ray, one of three Florida brothers whose tragic story from the early days of the AIDS epidemic became national news, is in fading health several weeks after undergoing surgery at a local hospital.

Ray, 22, has been in critical condition since Monday at All Children's Hospital.

When he entered the hospital in late September, doctors discovered that he had an enlarged spleen. His spleen was removed in surgery Oct. 5. Ray's health improved and his medical condition was upgraded to good, but he has since taken a turn for the worse.

Ray, like his brothers, is a hemophiliac and has AIDS. The boys' story got nationwide attention in 1987 after they contracted the virus that causes AIDS from tainted blood products.

The family's problems worsened after residents in DeSoto County, fearing the spread of AIDS, fought to keep the boys from attending school. Later, after an arsonist burned down their home, the Rays fled to Sarasota, then to Orlando. The family now lives in Alabama.

Ricky Ray, the oldest brother, died in 1992 at age 15. Randy, now 21, is living in Orlando and is in good health.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.