BREAKING: Thomas E. Starzl, Who Conducted First Liver Transplant, Dies

Transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl died Saturday in sleep at his Pittsburgh home. He was to turn 91 on March 11.

Dr. John Fung, director of the University of Chicago Transplantation Institute, said Thomas worked up to the end of his life.

He added Thomas worked virtually until the day he died. He said, “He was working four-hour days in the same offices he had worked in for 30 years.”

Thomas had performed world’s first liver transplant in Denver in 1963. He joined University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as a professor of surgery in 1981 and earned greater success thereafter.

In 1991 he retired from clinical and surgical services.

Fung and Thomas worked together four-hour per day at his Fifth Avenue offices at the University of Pittsburgh. Last year both of them collaborated on a book chapter.

The patient on whom the first liver transplant was conducted didn’t survive for long, but his second successful liver transplant patient survived for a year.