David Rimoin was one of the first researchers to recognize the genetic components of diabetes, helped establish screening programs for Tay-Sachs disease, and studied the genetics of dwarfism and other skeletal abnormalities. He died last Sunday (May 27) of pancreatic cancer, of which he was diagnosed just days earlier.
“We have lost a giant in the field of medicine,” Thomas Priselac, president and chief executive of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where Rimoin worked for much of his career, told the Los Angeles Times. “Children, adults, and families from across the country and the world who turned to him for his medical expertise have lost a uniquely skilled and caring physician who was singularly devoted to their health and well-being.”
In many years of studying dwarfism, Rimoin traveled to a pygmy village in the Central African Republic, to circuses, and to little peoples' meetings, collecting blood and sometimes biopsied bone samples. In 1970, he established a registry of diagnostic data for bone and cartilage disorders, and was recognized as an honorary life member of the Little People of America.
"For most of the formative years of our specialty, David was the face of medical genetics to the rest of organized medicine and to the public," current ACMG President Wayne Grody said in a statement.Rimoin is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son.
(Hat tip to GenomeWeb.)