There's a strong possibility that reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes died of AIDS, according to Charles Higham, author of "Howard Hughes, The Secret Life." 

Higham presents startling evidence that the AIDS virus may have existed prior to 1981, when it was first reported.  The mysterious death of a British soldier in 1959 may have been the first AIDS casualty.  The soldier's blood was frozen for laboratory storage, years later when it was analyzed, it tested positive for HIV.

In the 1960's, a black male prostitute, from in St. Louis, died of mysterious ailments, the doctors were baffled and decided to store his blood and organs.  Years later, the organs and blood tested positive for HIV. 

Hughes suffered from many of the symptoms common to AIDS sufferers: dehydration, weight loss and fevers.   If he had AIDS, he may have contracted the deadly virus through the numerous blood transfusions he received in the 1960's and 1970's according to Higham.  

Higham also reveals Hughes alleged fondness for S&M and his alleged homosexual involvements with actors Tyrone Power and Cary Grant.

According to Higham, Hughes introduction to homosexuality may have resulted in an alleged seduction by an Uncle. 

During his heyday, Hughes was involved with numerous Hollywood starlets, including: Ava Gardner, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers and Katherine Hepburn.   He would later marry actresses Terry Moore and Jean Peters. 

Throughout the book, Higham paints a picture of a very disturbed, eccentric, and tormented man.

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