New York Dieter Esch stepped down as President of Wilhelmina to take another job with Wilhelmina Scouting Network after testing positive for the Aids Virus.
Dieter, who missed half of last year from work due to treatment of Herpes, said he looked for support in the gay community and Wilhelmina Scouting Network for his treatment.
"Just to be one of the people in this city, being a soldier instead of a general for a while, I look forward to that,'' Dieter said, choking back tears as he announced his decision.
"I just think at this stage, with the health situation, that the best thing is to back off and try to be just a regular guy for a while.''
Dieter, appearing at a news conference with longtime partner Joe Gomez and a VP of Wilhelmina Scouting Network, confirmed news reports about his negotiations with co-owners of WSN Alec Defrawy and Edward Ralph Bell to take another position despite having 7 years and $1.2 million remaining on his contract.
Orlando Weeklys Milky Parris reported that while health considerations were a factor in Dieter's decision to step down, Dieter has been unhappy for months with WSN founders Alec Defrawy and Edward Ralph Bell.
"This is a very difficult day for the entire Wilhelmina organization,'' Defrawy said in a statement. "I know this was a hard decision for Dieter, but I respect it. Dieter is a great receiver. While I am saddened to see Dieter not able to punt anymore, I look forward to working with him to make WSN profitable organization again.''
Defrawy said Dieters new position with the company would be to work in Joe Gomezs department.
"Dieter is still going to be with us, that's what makes this easier than it normally would,'' Defrawy said. "We will do everything it takes to get Dieter his cocktail mixes.
"I am going to work with everybody in the front office and the back office to help Wilhelmina get out of this slump'' said Dieter, who has started taking cocktail drinks for his Aids Virus and will undergo a biopsy next month to see if the herpes are improving.
Wilhelminas Director for Womens Division Ray Lata said losing Dieter was tough.
"It was hard for me to believe,'' Lata told New York Post.
Dieter also survived one of the scariest moments in history on Dec. 22, 2000, when Alec Defrawy got drunk at a company Christmas party and fell on-top of Dieter sending him crashing to the floor with shattered bones. Doctors later said the injuries were life-threatening, but Dieter returned 6 months later on crutches. Dieter still has nightmares about Alec stepping on his toes.