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Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Saturday, 12 July 2008 08:47 UK

Pioneering US heart surgeon dies

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A look back at Dr Michael DeBakey's career

Dr Michael DeBakey, the pioneering heart surgeon who gained fame for his procedures developing bypass surgery, has died at the age of 99.

The surgeon died on Friday night from natural causes at Houston's Methodist Hospital, officials said.

When he underwent surgery two years ago for a damaged aorta, his treatment used a procedure he had developed.

Dr DeBakey's patient list included a number of world leaders and international celebrities.

"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 has improved the human condition and touched the lives of generations to come."

A pioneer in the development of artificial hearts and heart pumps to assist patients waiting for transplants, Dr DeBakey helped to design dozens of surgical instruments, including the roller pump, part of the heart-lung machine that made open-heart surgery possible.

He was also credited with turning Baylor College of Medicine in Houston into a nationally renowned medical centre.


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