Annie Lennox has sent a message of sympathy and support to families affected by the Malaysian Airlines tragedy.

“Sending a message of heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims of the Malaysian airlines plane that was shot down over Eastern Ukraine by a surface to air missile,” posted the singer and activist on Facebook. "Including those who perished were estimated to be as many as one hundred attendees of this year’s Global AIDS Conference which is due to start tomorrow in Melbourne, Australia.

“Veteran HIV researcher Clive Aspin was quoted as saying ‘These people were the best and the brightest, the ones who had dedicated their whole careers to fighting this terrible virus. It’s devastating.’

“Professor Richard Boyd, director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, said ‘There were some serious HIV leaders on that plane. This will have ramifications globally because whenever you lose a leader in any field, it has an impact. That knowledge is irreplaceable.’

“Although I’m not able to attend this year’s conference, my thoughts are with everyone there, who I know will be absolutely devastated by these tragic circumstances.”

Bill Clinton has also shown his respect for victims of the disaster, including leading AIDS researcher Joep Lange.

“In the days to come I’m hopeful more will be known about the Malaysia Airlines tragedy in Ukraine. We know that 298 people died and that several of them were en route to Melbourne to attend the International Aids Conference.

“Joep Lange, one of those aboard the flight, was the head of PharmAccess in the Netherlands and one of the most respected AIDS physicians in the world. He devoted his life to helping others and saving lives. In 2003, he worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to scale up AIDS care and treatment in South Africa and Tanzania, so that it would be more accessible to more of those in need. He continued to help CHAI with a number of our efforts since. Joep was a true leader in the fight against AIDS, a humanitarian, and a great friend to those who had the privilege of knowing him. Our hearts go out to Joep’s family, to his colleagues and many friends, and to everyone who lost a loved one in this horrible incident.”

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