Gene Copello, executive director of the AIDS Institute, died October 7 in Alexandria, Virginia, from kidney complications, the Washington Blade reports. He was 49.

According to the article, Copello is credited with helping bring the research and advocacy group to a national level, with offices located in Washington, DC, and Tampa, Florida. He recently attended a White House ceremony where President Bush reauthorized the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which Copello urged Congress to pass.

“This is a great loss to the AIDS Institute and the entire HIV/AIDS community, and we will forever miss Gene’s leadership and friendship,” said AIDS Institute official Carl Schmid.

A funeral service for Copello will be held 1 p.m., Monday, October 13, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church near Dupont Circle in DC.