Renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey is credited for popularizing modern dance. His dance group, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which was founded in 1958, combined ballet, jazz, modern and African dance and was largely responsible for revolutionizing Blacks’ interest and participation in professional dancing. Despite his major contributions, Ailey’s life and work was cut short by AIDs. To spare his mother’s feelings about the stigma and stereotype of HIV/AIDS that was prevalent at the time, the famed choreographer asked his doctor to say he died from the terminal blood disease dyscrasia instead. Ailey passed away on December 1, 1989 at the age of 58.