Distinguished calcium, vitamin D researcher Dr Robert Heaney passes

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image: http://blogs.creighton.edu/
Image: http://blogs.creighton.edu/

Related tags: Vitamin d, Osteoporosis

Robert Heaney, MD, a world-renowned researcher in the field of bone biology and vitamin D, has passed away at the age of 88 after a struggle with brain cancer.

Dr Heaney was recognized as a “Legend of Osteoporosis” by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and he worked with the Institute of Medicine to determine a recommended daily dose of calcium. His research also elevated the conversation on the importance of calcium and vitamin D in bone-loss prevention.

In a tribute on the Creighton University website​, Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, University President, said: “Dr. Heaney’s life had a beautiful form to it and in passing from this earthly life, his legacy seems all the more beautiful and we are more greatly enriched as people, as a university, for having known him and shared in his passions and wisdom.

“He was a man of many facets. A healer, a thinker, a man of faith, he was endlessly curious about his profession and the people he helped, the world around him, and his God.”

In a collective tribute by Dr. Greg Miller and Jean Ragalie-Carr published on the National Dairy Council website​, Dr. Heaney’s contribution to science was described as “substantial and no one will be able to completely fill his shoes. The best tribute we can pay him is to continue advocating for bone health and nutrition in the way he modelled for us,”​ they wrote.

“Dr. Heaney was brilliant, but humble and approachable. He was generous with his time and knowledge and was able to make the most complicated topic understandable.”

Duffy MacKay, ND, Sr VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) said: “Dr. Heaney’s loss is one that weighs heavily on the hearts of CRN and its members. An apostle of the nutrition research community, Dr. Heaney’s dedication to calcium and vitamin D research changed the dialogue surrounding evidence-based nutrition. His research sought to uncover new research paradigms to better evaluate the relationship between nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. His contributions set the foundations for future research into the ways in which supplements can improve lives, and for that, we, as an industry and as consumers, could not be more grateful.”

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