WATCH: Funeral services for AIDS specialist Dr. Mark Wainberg to be held Friday

Funeral services for a world–renowned Montreal AIDS specialist, who died suddenly in Miami, take place Friday afternoon.

The final goodbye for Dr. Mark Wainberg will take place at 1 at Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in Cote Saint Luc.

The Miami-Dade medical examiner has concluded Wainberg died from acute asthma exacerbation.

He was at a beach on Tuesday when he had trouble swimming, and was pulled out of the water by his son. 

Wainberg, who was 71-years old, died in hospital.

Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), said Wainberg was known worldwide for his research into HIV.

"He played a major role in the discovery and the potential use of a drug called 3TC in HIV antiretroviral treatment,'' said Bernstein. ``And he was one of the first to show that HIV could acquire (genetic) mutations that conferred resistance to HIV drugs.''

Wainberg was also an outspoken advocate for people with HIV and for destigmatizing those living with the disease, securing support for AIDS research and treatment from governments around the world, he said.

"He was passionate. If you bumped into him in the airport, you got an earful about some issue he cared about at the moment,'' recalled Bernstein, the former head of the New York-based Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.

"He cared a lot about the people around him. He had a very good sense of humour. 

He didn't shy away from controversy,'' Bernstein said, noting that as the president of the International AIDS Society from 1998 to 2000, Wainberg bridged the gap between researchers and doctors on one side and patients and advocacy groups on the other.

Dr. Wainberg was the dirertor of the Lady Davis research institute at the Jewish General Hospital.