A friend of the first Briton to die from AIDS, whose name was finally revealed after 40 years in a new documentary, has said Princess Diana shaking hands with a gay man dying of the disease was a ‘momentous moment’ that left him in tears.

Ken Dee appeared on Good Morning Britain today to speak about his friend John Eaddie, who has been named as the UK’s first AIDS victim following an investigation by ITV’s Tonight programme, which airs this evening.

When speaking about the stigma surrounding the illness at the time of Mr Eaddie’s death on October 29, 1981, GMB co-presenter Susanna Reid asked Mr Dee how it was impacted by Princess Diana shaking hands with a gay man dying of AIDS in 1987.

He replied: ‘I think that was a momentous moment when that happened because I think a lot of people then realised that it couldn’t be transmitted just through touching. 

“I feel that it did so much more for the gay community than any other thing could have done at that time.” It was amazing. I can still remember crying when it happened.

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Ken Dee (pictured) appeared on Good Morning Britain today to speak about his friend John Eaddie, who has been named as the UK's first AIDS victim following an investigation by ITV's Tonight programme, which airs this evening

Ken Dee (pictured), appeared today on Good Morning Britain to talk about John Eaddie. He was named the UK’s first AIDS victim after an ITV investigation.

When speaking about the stigma surrounding the illness at the time of Mr Eaddie's death on October 29, 1981, GMB co-presenter Susanna Reid asked Mr Dee how it was impacted by Princess Diana (pictured left) shaking hands with a gay man dying of AIDS in 1987

Susanna Reid (GMB Co-presenter) asked Mr Dee, when he was speaking on the stigma that surrounded the illness in the aftermath of his death on October 29, 1982, how this had been influenced by Princess Diana’s handshake with an AIDS patient dying from the disease.

The first man in the UK to die from AIDS has been revealed as John Eaddie after 40 years

Emotional family and friends finally paid tribute to 'Patient Zero'

After 40 years of emotional support from friends and family, John Eaddie has finally been identified as the first person to succumb to AIDS in Britain. 

Famously, Princess Diana was the first Royal Family member to contact someone living with AIDS.

The Princess of Wales, in April 1987, opened London Middlesex Hospital’s first HIV/AIDS unit. It was the only one that exclusively treated HIV-infected patients.

Unidentified patient with HIV/AIDS who she was photographing was shown with her shaking hands.

Mr Dee was on Good Morning Britain today to discuss his friend Mr Eaddie, who ran a guesthouse in Bournemouth in the 1970s and died on October 29, 1981 at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea.

His cause of death was recorded as pneumocystis pneumonia – which would later be recognised as a deadly sign of HIV/AIDS. 

The only trace of his death had been a brief entry in The Lancet medical journal in December 1981, which described a ‘known homosexual’ who had travelled to Miami and was suspected to have died of the same mystery illness sweeping much of the gay community in the US. 

Mr Dee (pictured left) replied: 'I think that was a momentous moment when that happened because I think a lot of people then realised that it couldn't be transmitted just through touching'

Mr Dee (pictured left) replied: ‘I think that was a momentous moment when that happened because I think a lot of people then realised that it couldn’t be transmitted just through touching’

Princess Diana (pictured right) was famously the first member of the Royal Family to touch someone with AIDS

Princess Diana (pictured right) was famously the first member of the Royal Family to touch someone with AIDS

An investigation by ITV’s Tonight programme has now named Mr Eaddie as the UK’s first AIDS victim. By tracing his family and friends and unearthing his medical records, his story can be told properly for the first time and his loved ones can finally pay tribute to him. 

Speaking this morning, Mr Dee said: ‘We heard that he was sick… he was breathless… but we presumed it was a cold. It all happened quite quickly.’  

‘He was a charming host, he’d remember you and remember your name,’ he added about Mr Eaddie. 

He told Tonight: ‘We went through such a terrible time in our lives. But what John did was set up some place that was really safe. And that’s something we will always remember.’

Mr Dee was on Good Morning Britain today to discuss his friend Mr Eaddie, who ran a guesthouse in Bournemouth in the 1970s and died on October 29, 1981 at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea. Pictured, Susanna Reid

Today’s Good Morning Britain show featured Mr Dee discussing his friend and guest, Mr Eaddie. Mr Eaddie was a Bournemouth-based hotelier who died in October 1981 at Chelsea’s Royal Brompton hospital. Pictured, Susanna Reid

His life expectancy was just months, if not weeks at the time that Mr Eaddie was diagnosed.

After his passing, Jonathan Weber initiated a study with 400 gay men from London that showed early signs and symptoms of AIDS. Tonight heard that 399 of these men died later.

 ‘We had nothing for the underlying disease. Und tatsächlich, we did not know the exact cause of the disease.

It was a virus that we did not know existed until 1984. It is amazing how this virus can kill without any intervention.

Terrence Higgins was the first person to have been identified as having AIDS in Britain. He died in 1982.

ITV Tonight’s programme ‘Searching For Patient Zero: Britain’s AIDS Tragedy’ airs at 19.30 on Thursday, November 11th. 

Diana and Aids patients changed the world’s perception of this disease by their handshake

Diana shook arms with a dying gay man in April 1987.

The People’s Princess reached out to the man, without gloves. This challenged the belief that the disease can be transmitted skin-to-skin.

According to her, HIV does not make it dangerous for people to be aware. 

“You can give them a hug and shake their hand. It’s a must, for they know it.

At the time, Princess Diana was opening the UK’s first unit that exclusively cared for HIV/AIDS patients at London Middlesex Hospital.

Famously, Princess Diana was the first Royal Family member to contact someone living with AIDS. 

This is her first physical contact with an HIV infected person.  

The Lighthouse would be regularly visited by the People’s Prince, with or without the media.

Rosemary Gillespie is the chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity. She stated that London Lighthouse provided residential and daily care for HIV-positive men, women, and children, as well as a respite and refuge to those who were marginalised or abandoned due to their diagnosis.

At the time Princess Diana died in 1997, she was a patron for the National AIDS Trust.