Famed Surgeon, A&M Institute Namesake DeBakey Dies

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HOUSTON -- Former colleagues are remembering Michael DeBakey as a "medical statesman" and possibly the world's most prominent doctor in the last half of the 20th century.

DeBakey died in Houston Friday night of natural causes at the age of 99.

A hospital official says "millions of people are alive today" because of DeBakey's work.

While still in medical school in 1932, he invented what would become a major component of the heart-lung machine, thereby launching the era of open-heart surgery.

The procedures DeBakey developed once were the wonders of the medical world. Today, they are routine in most hospitals. He also pioneered the effort to develop artificial hearts and heart pumps to assist patients waiting for transplants, and helped create more than 70 surgical instruments.

His longtime rival, Dr. Denton Cooley, says DeBakey's legacies are many, but one of his greatest may be influencing so many students to pursue careers in the field.

DeBakey's name is prominent at Texas A&M, where the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has the Michael E. DeBakey Institute for Comparative Cardiovascular Science and Biomedical Devices. You can learn more about the institute by clicking on the link below.