7.15PM: Tributes are this evening being paid to a gay doctor who assisted more HIV positive gay men than any other GP in the early days of the HIV epidemic which decimated NZ's gay community in the late 1980s and 90s. Dr. Matt Wildbore Dr. Matt Wildbore, 45, was found dead in his Auckland apartment yesterday afternoon. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances and they are not looking for anyone else in connection with his death. Close friend and fellow medic Dr. Mike Pohl, who himself has treated many gay and HIV positive Aucklanders, describes Wildbore as "my best mate." Openly emotional and preparing to host Wildbore's body at his Mt Eden home tomorrow, Pohl says he has found it difficult to put his sense of loss into words. "Whatever I say seems too little..." he said, his voice trailing off into silence. GayNZ.com Content Editor Jay Bennie, who was a patient of Wildbore's until the GP sold his practice eight years ago, says Wildbore was "all a person could want in a doctor, and more. I went through the worst health crisis of my life when Matt was my GP... he broke the news with care and compassion, guided me through the emotional and medical turmoil and was thereafter supportive to a fault. In the process he became a much valued friend." And, says Bennie, "his medical ability and knowledge of both conventional and alternative treatments, was second to none." Wildbore's concerns over HIV extended beyond his own patients. He was a staunch supporter of the NZ AIDS Foundation's Burnett Centre and in the early days of the epidemic worked regular rosters to take blood samples from scared gay men for HIV tests. NZAF Executive Director Rachael LeMesurier says the organisation is "saddened to hear the news about Matt Wildbore’s death. Matt was always a remarkable support for people living with HIV, at one point as an Auckland based GP he had the largest case load of HIV positive people in primary care in Auckland if not the country. He has always been a significant friend and supporter for NZAF since the epidemic began. He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time." Members of Wildbore's family have gathered in Taupo, from where his older sister, Jane Solley, this afternoon spoke of how proud the whole family has been of Wildbore. "We've always been very proud of the work Matt's done. He was a gift to us and we've always skited about him. He was always so kind and patient with anybody he came in touch with." She says that even as children growing up she and her brother never fought. "I could never be cross with him... even now I feel sorry for him," she says. "If only he could have loved himself as much as he loved us and as much as others loved him." Solley says the family has today been receiving many "lovely calls" of condolence. Matt Wildbore's funeral will be held in Rotorua at 1pm on Tuesday, at Osbourne's Funeral Parlour at 197 Old Taupo Road. Mid tomorrow afternoon his body will rest at 30 Horoeka Avenue in Mt Eden to enable his Auckland friends and associates to pay their respects. Memories and tributes to Dr Matt Wildbore can be left on GayNZ.com's Forum, linked below.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Friday, 20th June 2008 - 6:38pm
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