Ricky Ray, 15, the eldest of three hemophiliac brothers barred from school in Florida because they carried the AIDS virus, died Dec. 13 at his home in Orlando, Fla. He died as a result of the virus.
Last month, President-elect Clinton telephoned the boy to offer his support.
He and his brothers, Robert, 14, and Randy, 13, found themselves at the center of a controversy in 1986 when the local school board in Arcadia, Fla., barred them from school because they were infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Ricky Ray was born in Fort Myers, Fla., to a working-class family. He and his brothers are believed to have been infected by HIV-contaminated blood products used to treat their hemophilia before tighter controls were placed on the blood supply in 1985. They were the first Florida children to receive the AIDS drug AZT.
The Ray family gained national attention in 1986 when the DeSoto County School Board barred the brothers from classes at Memorial Elementary School after learning they were HIV-positive. The boys' parents sued the school board that year and won the right to send their children to school. They also received a $1.1 million settlement.
Their quarrel with Arcadia continued when bomb threats several times closed the elementary school. Parents marched in public protest and withdrew their children from classes.
The Rays received threatening telephone calls and the family finally was forced to move when an arsonist firebombed their home in 1987. They sought a measure of privacy in nearby Sarasota.
In 1991, the family agreed to a $1 million out-of-court settlement with the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the AIDS-tainted hemophilia medication.
Ricky Ray was found to have full-blown AIDS in March 1991, more than a year after Robert's diagnosis, although Robert shows few symptoms. Randy carries the virus but has not developed any symptoms.
In the summer of 1991, Ricky Ray again received national attention when he sought court approval for an underage marriage to his sweetheart, Wenonah Lindberg, then 16.
The union was approved by both sets of parents. Ricky Ray said his uncertain future made him decide to marry. He also wanted to give Wenonah his share of the family's two settlements. The marriage was called off when Ricky Ray became ill, but the couple remained close friends.
In addition to his two brothers, survivors include his parents, Clifford and Louise Ray, and a daughter, Candy, 11, who is not a hemophiliac and does not carry HIV.