(Reuters) – Joseph Murray, the pioneer who won a Nobel Prize after performing the first kidney transplant, passed away on Monday at the age of 93. The demise was declared at a hospital in Boston where the American plastic surgeon was hospitalized after the stroke he suffered last Thursday.
Medicine has never been the same since Joseph Murray performed the first kidney transplant on identical twins in the 1950s. He shared the 1990’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with E. Donnall Thomas due to the numerous discoveries he made in the field. On Monday, November 26, the plastic surgeon passed away at the age of 93.
His spokesperson confirmed the news on Tuesday adding that the Nobel Prize winner’s death was caused by the stroke he suffered last Thursday. Murray’s condition worsened since the incident took place and doctors were unable to help him recover.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital President, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel was very saddened to communicate the surgeon’s demise. She told the press that “the world is a better place” thanks to Murray’s scientific breakthrough. She concluded by saying that Murray’s legacy will continue to exist in people’s hearts and more specifically in the hearts of those patients “who received the gift of life through transplantation”.
Even though Murray succeeded in making the first kidney transplantation, he never ceased to look for new methods of improving his work. Thus, he spent the last years of his life trying to improve patients’ immune systems, so they no longer rejected the foreign tissue that was transplanted. It was his ambition and drive to succeed that brought him the recognition of the Scandinavian committee in 1990.
Joseph Murray’s son, Rick, described the scientist as an optimistic man whose favorite quote was “difficulties are opportunities”. The late surgeon stated in an interview for the Nobel Prize organization that he would have loved “to have 10 more lives to live on this planet” so he could dedicate each and every one of them to the study of his favorite subjects: embryology, genetics, physics, astronomy and geology. “The other lifetimes would be as a pianist, backwoodsman, tennis player, or writer for the National Geographic,” he added.