Brett Shaad, the West Hollywood lawyer and resident who had contracted bacterial meningitis, was taken off life support on Saturday evening and died at 6:42 p.m., according to a Shaad family statement.

Shaad, a gay man, was being treated at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. His tragedy has become a national story after a rash of meningitis cases in New York City have also involved gay men, reminding some in the gay community of the early days of the AIDS crisis when people had few answers and many questions about that life-threatening disease.

“Tonight our family made the incredibly difficult decision to remove my brother Brett from life support,” says Brian Shaad in a press statement. “He died peacefully surrounded by our family and friends.”

Family and friends are clearly devastated by the passing of Shaad.

“Brett was an extraordinary person,” says Brian Shaad. “He was a loving son, brother and grandson, an attorney with a deep passion for social justice, and a dear friend to so many people. We cannot believe that this wonderful person is gone. We love you Brett.”

Shaad spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford also says in a statement that the family plans to better understand how the lawyer contracted bacterial meningitis.

“The Shaad family asks for privacy at this painful time,” Ashford says, “which has been made more devastating by irresponsible and inaccurate reports on the circumstances of Brett's death. The family wants, and will pursue, answers for how and why this happened.”

On Friday, West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran said at a press conference that Shaad had been taken off life support when he had not. Shaad, though, had been declared brain dead at the time of Duran's announcement.

Read L.A. Weekly's previous coverage of the Shaad tragedy.

Shaad had reportedly gone to the White Party a few weeks ago in Palm Springs, which is an event that's attended by gay men from across the country. It's possible that people from New York City, where health department officials have found numerous cases of meningitis among gay men, attended the White Party.

Meningitis can be contracted from kissing, sneezing and being in very close contact with infected persons.

Duran has recommended that gay men in the Los Angeles area should take precautions, and the New York City Health Department has suggested that men who have sex with men should get a meningitis vaccine.

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