He got America to take notice of the dangers of smoking and a then-new disease known as AIDS in the 1980s when he served as surgeon general for President Reagan and George H.W. Bush and yesterday C. Everett Koop died at his home in New Hampshire. He was 96.

Koop was an evangelical Christian who stunned some of his Republican supporters when he suggested that condoms and sex education would help halt the spread of AIDS. The former pipe smoker also tried to put an end to smoking in the United States once by saying that cigarettes were as habit forming as heroin or cocaine.

While in office, he called himself "the health conscience of the country." And, even after he left the post, he continued to try to promote good health, saying, "I will use the written word, the spoken word and whatever I can in the electronic media to deliver health messages to this country as long as people will listen."