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During his illustrious career, the Cape Town professor led ground-breaking research on the metabolism of the heart. He was known as one of the continent’s leading doctors before passing away last week. Read more below:

‘On behalf of the City of Cape Town, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Emeritus Professor Lionel Opie. Cape Town has been a place for innovation, having been the site of the first heart transplant, carried out by Dr Christiaan Barnard. Throughout his life, Emeritus Professor Opie worked on ground-breaking research to understand the biology of the human heart. He was a prolific researcher and worked closely with the late Dr Barnard. Opie’s passing is a great loss, but his innovative research has left a wealth of knowledge behind for the enrichment of the minds of future generations,’ said Executive Mayor Dan Plato.

Born in 1933, Professor Opie obtained his medical degree at the University of Cape Town in 1955. He went on to study further at Oxford in 1957 and was also mentored by two Nobel prize winners, Professor Sir Hans Krebs at Oxford, and Professor Sir Ernst Chain at Imperial College, London. Opie published hundreds of scientific articles and books covering heart disease. He also made meaningful contributions to many other published works.

In 2006, he received the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver for his contribution to the field of cardiology.

In 2012, the University of Stellenbosch honoured Professor Opie with the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) for his contributions as an internationally acclaimed cardiologist as well as for his research work.

Opie’s passion for medicine and science never wavered and he remained active well into his golden years. We are grateful for his contribution to medical science.

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