Heart surgeon Marius Barnard dies - report

2014-11-15 20:10

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Johannesburg - Heart surgeon Marius Barnard has died after battling prostate cancer for 17 years, the Independent Online reported on Saturday.

The 87-year-old helped his brother Christiaan perform the world’s first human heart transplant in Cape Town in 1967. He died in Hermanus on Friday, IOL reported.

His son Adam, his two daughters and his wife Inez were present when he died.

"He kept himself alive far longer than he should have… The little bugger didn’t want to die," Adam was quoted as saying.

Barnard's career began as a general physician in Zimbabwe, IOL reported.

In 1967, he moved to Cape Town where he joined the department of cardio thoracic surgery. He went on to become a member of the first heart transplant team.

He received awards for his contributions to medicine from various countries, including Italy, Greece and France, IOL reported.

Barnard also played a leading role in the creation of critical illness insurance.

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