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Kinray CEO rescues Twitter AIDS drive

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Stewart Rahr, the billionaire president and chief executive officer of Whitestone pharmaceutical giant Kinray Inc., has helped thousands through his philanthropic work and brought medication and health supplies to thousands more through his company.

But through a new endeavor Monday afternoon, the executive, who pals around with famous friends like Donald Trump and Leonardo DiCaprio and has called himself “Stewie Rah Rah, the No. 1 king of all fun,” entered the realm of virtual necromancy, bringing a host of celebrities back to life on Facebook and Twitter.

On Dec. 1, 18 celebrities undertook an effort to raise $1 million for the Keep a Child Alive’s “Digital Death” campaign in one week. They taped their “last Tweet and testaments” and modeled for photographs in coffins, then stopped using their Twitter and Facebook accounts, in hopes the blackout would implore fans to donate to the cause, which helps children and families in Africa and India who have been affected by HIV/AIDS.

“Alicia Keys is dead. She sacrificed her digital life to help save millions of real ones affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India,” Keys, one of the campaign’s lead organizers with years spent living in Queens under her belt, posted on Facebook at 11:15 p.m. Nov. 30.

When the celebrities realized Monday morning that they had only raised $450,000 for the cause, they became frustrated and contacted Rahr, who stepped in to boost the haul with $500,000 of his own, thereby regenerating the digital lives of the participants, which included Keys, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake, Elijah Wood, Jennifer Hudson, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Kimberly Cole, Lenny Kravitz, Daphne Guinness, Swizz Beats, Serena Williams, Usher, David LaChapelle, Jay Sean, Janelle Monae and music group The Buried Life.

Seacrest was ecstatic Tuesday to have reached the goal and be back on Facebook, according to a status update on his official Twitter page.

“So stoked to be back on Twitter! Special shout out to Stewie Rah Rah for his generous donation!” the 2:40 p.m. posting read.

Kinray representatives did not return a phone call requesting comment by press time Tuesday.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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