Bart Rarick, who has been HIV-positive for 22 years and living in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, died Thursday, March 29. He was 53.
Rarick's partner since 1999, Mike Barnes, posted the news late Thursday on Facebook. He wrote: "Bart died this evening. We were laying in bed and he suddenly stopped breathing. It was about 10:45 p.m. and he had had an awfully painful day. But he died peacefully and in his sleep."
Rarick was a flight attendant for American Airlines, but has been on a five-year leave of absence, the company limit. Rarick endured serious liver issues, caused by his HIV and cancer treatment over the past two decades, Barnes told the Windy City Times earlier this year. Rarick had dropped from 170 to 125 pounds and even struggled at times getting out of bed or eating.
Barnes, 55, is a pharmacist at a Lakeview Walgreens, and has been a bowler since the mid-1980s in the local gay leagues. Barnes has lost two other long-time partners to HIV/AIDS. He was with his first long-time partner, Donald Hendricks, from 1984-'89. Hendricks was diagnosed with HIV in 1986 and died in 1989. Barnes was then with Sky Bixby from 1989-'97. Bixby learned he was HIV-positive in 1995 and died in 1997.
"Everyone always wonders why they're here in life. After Sky [died], I figured that must be my lot in life: I'm here to take care of HIV guys," Barnes said in January.
Barnes was profiled earlier this year in the Windy City Times: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/AIDS-Mike-Barnes-Overcoming-heartache/35695.html
The Windy City Times will have more on Rarick's passing over the weekend.