Edward Cullen was born Edward Anthony Masen on June 20, 1901 to Edward Sr. and Elizabeth Masen. He and his parents contracted the Spanish influenza during an epidemic that devastated Chicago, Illinois in 1918. Orphaned and nearly dead from the disease, Edward was changed into a vampire by one of the physicians caring for him, Carlisle Cullen, acting on the directions from his loving, dying mother to "save him". From that point onward, Carlisle raised Edward as his son, instilling in Edward a morality unusual among the vampires. Central to this way of life is a refusal to consider humans as food. Edward had a rebellious period near the beginning of his life as a vampire, and used his mind-reading abilities to prey on only the worst of society. However, after a few years he became guilt-ridden and returned to Carlisle and his way of life. Edward and his vampire family, which includes his parents Carlisle and Esme and siblings Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett, often come into conflict with other vampires as a result of this morality, which goes against their natural vampyric nature. A particular source of conflict is Edward's relationship with the human Isabella "Bella" Swan.