Brother’s death draws Carla to AIDS campaign

A singer and former model, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the French first lady, is to launch herself on the international humanitarian stage with an announcement that she is to become a figurehead in the global fight against Aids.

Bruni, who married President Nicolas Sarkozy in February, was expected to be appointed an “ambassador” for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Geneva-based organisation backed by the United Nations.

She had for long been trying to decide what cause to embrace as first lady, and the choice of Aids appears to have been influenced by a family tragedy that occurred in 2006, when Virginio, her brother, with whom she had a close relationship, died after a long battle with the illness at the age of 46.

Matthew Campbell, for The Times of India

Her latest album features a song called Hi, Sailor, which has been described as a farewell to Virginio, an artist and passionate yachtsman, who had frequently crossed the Atlantic single-handed.

His death devastated the family: Carla has spoken of the “emptiness” it caused, and in 2007 Marisa, her mother, set up the Virginio Bruni Tedeschi Foundation in his memory. Backed by Unesco, it is dedicated to fighting AIDS. Media debated whether Carlas new role would allow her to perform in concerts to raise money for the cause.

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