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West Hollywood, Calif., man with meningitis is brain dead; sexually active gay men warned of illness

BY SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES -- A 33-year-old West Hollywood man who felt sickened by bacterial meningitis earlier this week has been declared brain dead amid warnings to sexually active gay men about the deadly strain of illness, officials said.

Brett Shaad was declared brain dead but remained on life support Friday afternoon, said Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Shaad's family. She declined to release further details.

That corrected a statement made earlier in the day by West Hollywood Councilman John Duran who said Shaad had died and had been removed from life support.

Duran said later that friends who were in Shaad's hospital room since told him that he was declared brain dead.

Duran, who saw Shaad last weekend, described the openly gay man as being "robust and healthy" prior to Monday, when he began to feel sick.

On Wednesday, he went into the emergency room. By Thursday, he was in a coma.

Earlier Friday, officials warned sexually active gay men to beware of the potentially deadly health threat because Shaad's case was detected in Los Angeles County.

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