TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA.com) - The Malaysia airliner crash cost hundreds of people their lives.. Among them, world renowned AIDS researcher. Dr. Joep Lange.

"Its totally shocking and so, so, so sad." said classmate Donna Brockman.

She and Deane Viers knew Dr. Lange long before he made his mark trying to find a cure for AIDS. He attended Robinson High School in Tampa with them as an exchange student from Holland.

Viers said, "He could be very funny, he didn't like to see people sad and he was there to cheer you up."

Brockman remembers the exchange student fitting in with the rest of the crowd.

Brockman added, "He was such a kind hearted man he had such a wonderful sweet spirit and it wasn't about him at all."

When Dr. Lange came back to Tampa for his 40th high school reunion, his classmates say he was a humble man, even though he was known internationally for his fight to rid the world of AIDS.

"He said we will beat this in our lifetime and he was so proud he could contribute to that, and I kept telling him, I am so proud of you, even knowing you and how much you have done for the world," said Brockman.

Photo Credit DOMINIQUE FAGET.AFP.Getty Images 

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