C. Everett Koop, the bow-tie and suspenders-loving, former U.S. Surgeon General died on Monday, according to a Feb. 26 CNN report. The former pediatric surgeon served as surgeon general from 1982 to 1989. Prior to that position, he was surgeon-in-chief at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for over 30 years.
The public health advocate was best known for his passionate work educating Americans about HIV/AIDS and tobacco. He fought tirelessly for what he called a “smoke-free” society, and made his mark with 1986 report on the dangers of secondhand smoke. “That was the shot heard around the world, and it began to change public policy everywhere,” said John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.
According to News Channel 10 Amarillo, Koop did not get his wish for a “smoke-free” society, but smoking rates did drop from 38 percent to 27 percent while he was in office.
The 96-year-old died peacefully at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College said in a news release announcing his death. “Dr. Koop did more than take care of his individual patients -- he taught all of us about critical health issues that affect our larger society,” said Dartmouth President Carol L. Folt. “Through that knowledge, he empowered each of us to improve our own well-being and quality of life. Dr. Koop's commitment to education allowed him to do something most physicians can only dream of: improving the health of millions of people worldwide.”
News Channel 10 reports that even after office, Koop continued his hard work. “I will use the written word, the spoken word and whatever I can in the electronic media to deliver health messages to this country as long as people will listen,” he promised.
He is survived by his wife, three children and eight grandchildren.
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