Murdered Designer Gianni Versace was battling HIV.
In the second episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story titled, “Manhunt,” viewers saw Gianni Versace learn that he was diagnosed with HIV in March 1994. It also showed that Versace was receiving treatment for the disease.
The episode became more intriguing when Versace was shown walking with his boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico, along the beach. Versace said, “I just want it out of me… I just want them to take it out.”
But, did Gianni Versace have HIV? Just because the series depicts the Italian fashion designer as having contracted the virus, it doesn’t mean it’s true, especially since Versace’s family has outright denied the rumors.
Donatella Denied the Rumors
Gianni Versace withdrew from public life between 1994 and 1995, which raised suspicion on his health. However, his sister, Donatella Versace, said that he was not making public appearances because he had inoperable ear cancer.
Donatella said her brother was sure that he was going to die. She revealed in an interview that Gianni was diagnosed with ear cancer before he was murdered. She explained that during the last two years of her brother’s life, he was hiding in his apartment “because his ear was so big.” She explains this is also the reason he retreated from the public eye.
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Donatella explained, “It was impossible to do a surgery because of the position, because to do a surgery, part of his face was supposed to drop. That’s why the will and everything was done, and I knew everything about, because he thought he was going to die. [sic]”
However, Versace’s cancer was reportedly cured six months before he was murdered. His loved ones celebrated the news of his good health with champagne. “We celebrated; we drink champagne and everything. Six months later, he was killed,” explained Donatella.
It was a Vanity Fair contributor named Maureen Orth who first published claims that Gianni had HIV. She said that Miami Beach detective, Paul Scrimshaw discovered the diagnosis after he went through Gianni Versace’s autopsy report.
American Crime Story writer, Tom Rob Smith revealed that he spoke to several sources who said that he was HIV positive.
Sources believe that Gianni Versace’s family was hiding his illness because they didn’t want to tarnish the company’s image or brand value by disclosing his condition.
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Maureen Orth’s Case
In her book, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, Orth wrote that even though Versace was dating D’Amico, they were intimate with other partners. She claimed that at the time, there were “new, life-saving medications” that showed tremendous results six months before he was killed.
Whether or not the late fashion designer had HIV is still a topic of speculation. So, as of now, it remains unclear if Versace was HIV positive or not.
Maureen Orth maintains that Gianni Versace had HIV, however, his family still strongly denies this claim.