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Baylor, Methodist mourn death of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey

Houston, TX - 7/12/2008

On behalf of the entire Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital families, it is with profound sadness that we announce the death of pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey. The college, the hospital, and indeed the entire world, have lost a great man today.

Dr. DeBakey died at 9:38 p.m. Friday, July 11 from natural causes at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

In a career spanning more than 70 years, Dr. DeBakey performed more than 60,000 heart surgeries. Other surgeons have used his innovations in cardiovascular surgery worldwide to save the lives of countless millions.

“Dr. DeBakey’s reputation brought many people into this institution, and he treated them all: heads of state, entertainers, businessmen and presidents, as well as people with no titles and no means,” said Ron Girotto, president of The Methodist Hospital System. “He always said that Methodist is a hospital with a soul … and for more than 50 years, Dr. DeBakey has been the heart and soul of Methodist.”

“He has improved the human condition and touched the lives of generations to come,” continued Girotto. “We will greatly miss him.”

“With each passing year, Dr. DeBakey continued to provide great wisdom to those who sought his counsel,” said Dr. Peter G. Traber, BCM president. “As Baylor College of Medicine’s first President, he set a standard for preeminence and never let anyone here forget the importance of leadership in academic medicine. We have lost a man who was a great physician, educator, leader and above all, a great friend.”

“We will miss him, but we will honor his memory by continuing to excel in those things he taught us,” Traber said.

“Dr. DeBakey singlehandedly raised the standard of medical care, teaching and research around the world,” said Dr. George Noon, a cardiovascular surgeon and longtime partner of DeBakey’s. “He was the greatest surgeon of the 20th century, and physicians everywhere are indebted to him for his contributions to medicine.”

“Dr. DeBakey was an incredible man and his contributions to medicine are unmatched,” said Dr. Bobby R. Alford, Chancellor of Baylor College of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at Baylor and The Methodist Hospital. “He was a dear friend and colleague for more than 40 years. He will be missed dearly.”

Dr. DeBakey is to lie in repose within the rotunda of Houston City Hall from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15. The viewing is open to the public. Funeral services are planned for Wednesday. Details are forthcoming.

For more information on the legacy of Dr. Michael DeBakey, visit www.bcm.edu and www.methodisthealth.com. Photographs and video are available on the websites, and by contacting Lori Williams at 713-775-6912 or 713-798-4710 or Denny Angelle at 832-667-5807 or 281-735-6363.