08/08/2013 at 12:05 PM EDT
Sean Sasser, an AIDS activist and The Real World
cast member, has died, his friend and fellow cast member, Judd Winick, announced via Twitter Tuesday night. He was 44.
"Our friend Sean Sasser has died. Our love goes out to his family & husband Michael. We will miss u so much," Winick Tweeted
Sasser, who was HIV positive, died of mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lungs, according to his life partner, Michael Kaplan, Dan Renzi of Queerty
Sasser became known in the early 1990s for his relationship with Pedro Zamora, who starred on The Real World: San Francisco
. Their commitment ceremony was one of the first ever televised prior to Zamora's death
As recently as May, Sasser was working as a pastry chef at RIS restaurant in Washington, D.C., and was interviewed by the Washington Blade
, which praised his homemade ice cream and sorbets – his personal favorite was his Meyer's lemon meringue tart with grapefruit tarragon sorbet – and said he was fascinated by cooking since he was young.
"I want to serve desserts and pastries that people recognize and love to eat," he told the newspaper, "but sometimes with an unexpected twist of surprise."