Health and Wellness

This famous male model died of AIDS, but his family told the media he had a skiing accident

Albert Delègue was the face of Armani in the early 90sPhoto: advertisement

Albert Delègue was a French fashion model on several top-end brands, like Versace and Giorgio Armani. In 1995, he died in what was reported to be a skiing accident. The real story, however, was far different.

Delègue was born to a French doctor and a Portuguese potter in 1963, and had two older sisters. 

Growing up in Mérilheu, a small town in south-western France, Delègue worked as a ski instructor until being introduced to the world of modeling in 1989.

Delègue’s rugged yet handsome good looks led him to become one of the top male models of the 1990s, rivaled only by a handful of others — such as Cameron Alborzian, Alain Gossuin, Greg Hansen, Werner Schreyer, and Marcus Schenkenberg — while securing modeling contracts with the top brands of the era. 

Related: Queer icon Sylvester’s disco hit inducted into the Library of Congress for its historical value 

His contract with Armani was rumored to be worth 5 million francs, and was just one of many in a portfolio scatted with the likes of Sonia Rykiel, Daniel Hechter, Calvin Klein, Kenzo, Chevignon, Morgan, White-Blue, Valentino, Versace, Iceberg, and Rene Lezard. He worked with two agencies, Success and IPS Models.

When he died, on April 14, 1995 at just 32 years old, the official story behind his passing had him suffering a skiing accident in August of 1994, leaving him paralyzed for months. He was admitted to the hospital on March 22, dying less than a month later.

On April 19, that story began to fall apart, with some media outlets reporting that the cause of death was not an accident, but AIDS-related encephalitis. Nevertheless, the family held fast on the official story.

“His own family wanted to silence the real reason for his death,” said Alain Gossuin as reported on the AIDS memorial Instagram page. “I had discussed it in a TV show, believing that my intervention would put a spotlight on a scourge that took a worrying magnitude. Result? I was censored in the editing. My approach was sincere.”

Gossuin’s interview, however, never aired, after Delègue’s family stepped in to suppress the information.

Even today, those facing HIV and AIDS diagnoses like Delègue are often stigmatized, forced to hide their diagnoses, or have to deal with friends and family attempting to hide the grim realities of their passing.

View this post on Instagram

— Albert Delègue (May 2, 1963 — April 14, 1995) was a fashion model who died of AIDS at Purpan Hospital in Toulouse, France. He was 32 years old. . Delègue’s ashes were later scattered in the bay of Sao-Martinho do Porto, Portugal. . The son of a French doctor and a Portuguese potter, Delègue had two older sisters. He spent his childhood in Mérilheu, a small village in the Pyrenees where he worked as a ski-instructor until 1989 when a friend introduced him to the director of a modeling agency. . Delègue began his modeling career at the age of 26, securing advertising campaigns with @Versace, @MaisonValentino, @CalvinKlein, @SoniaRykiel @Kenzo, @Iceberg and most notably @GiorgioArmani — a contract reportedly worth 5 million francs. . Alongside Werner Schreyer, Greg Hansen, @yogicameron, Mark Vanderloo and Alain Gossuin, Delègue was considered one of the top male models of the early 1990’s. . The official version given at the time of Delègue’s death stated that on August 2, 1994, as a result of a skiing accident, he was left paralysed for months. He was then admitted to hospital on March 22, 1995, which led to his death on April 14. However, on April 19, media outlets such as L' HUmanité and Idole reported that the cause of death was AIDS-related encephalitis. Fellow model Alain Gossuin in an interview said: . “His own family wanted to silence the real reason for his death. I had discussed it in a TV show, believing that my intervention would put a spotlight on a scourge that took a worrying magnitude. Result? I was censored in the editing. My approach was sincere.” . Gossuin’s interview was never broadcast. Unlike the American model Gia Carangi (1960 — 1986), whose death made her the subject of books, films and documentaries, the stigma of having HIV appears to be the reason why Delegue still remains an enigma even until today. . #whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #neverforget #endaids

A post shared by THE AIDS MEMORIAL (@theaidsmemorial) on

 

Today is Give OUT Day. So where should you send your donation to help LGBTQ people the most?

Previous article

Someone tore down & burned a southern couple’s rainbow flag. Now everyone is putting them up.

Next article