Funeral taking place in Montreal for HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Mark Wainberg

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An internationally renowned scientist, Dr Wainberg was a leading HIV researcher from the start of the AIDS epidemic.

Bal Harbor police Capt. Mike De La Rosa tells the Miami Herald that Dr. Mark Wainberg was in the water Tuesday afternoon when his son lost sight of him. According to investigators, his son rushed into the water, swam out to where he last saw him, and brought him back into shore.

Officers on the beach administered CPR, and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue transported Wainberg to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Wainberg and his colleagues identified one of the main anti-retroviral medicines used to treat HIV infection and also contributed to the understanding of HIV drug resistance.

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The coast guard had issued a warning for choppy surf which could create a high risk of rip currents on Tuesday morning, De La Rosa said. He became an outspoken advocate for human rights, from denouncing the criminalization of HIV-AIDS, through to demanding that treatment be more available and affordable, especially in the developing world. Canadian scientist Mark Wainberg - described as a "giant" of HIV science and who had recently been working on finding a cure for the condition - has died at the age of 71, UNAIDS said on Thursday.

"UNAIDS is deeply saddened by the tragic death of pioneering HIV researcher Mark Wainberg", the agency dedicated to battling the disease said in a statement. "His work contributed to saving millions of lives", said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

In 2015, Wainberg was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2015 "for having made the world a better place". He once served as president of the International AIDS Society and received numerous accolades, including the Order of Canada and France's Légion d'Honneur.

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