WASHINGTON — A man who made history when he publicly exchanged vows with well-known gay partner and AIDS activist Pedro Zamora in the 1990s has died. Sean Sasser was 44.

In what was then an unprecedented act, Sasser exchanged vows with Zamora in a 1994 commitment ceremony on MTV's seminal reality TV show "The Real World." Zamora died of AIDS later that year, and Sasser became an AIDS activist.

The nonprofit group AIDS United and a Washington restaurant where Sasser worked as executive pastry chef confirmed that Sasser died Wednesday.

AIDS United's board of trustees chairman Douglas Brooks says the Detroit native died of mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.

Sasser's husband, Michael Kaplan, is AIDS United's president.