The Houston health industry is mourning the loss of Dr. Emil J. Freireich, a legendary medical professional remembered for his work to treat childhood leukemia.
MD Anderson announced the death of its faculty member on Monday in a news release.
“Emil J Freireich, M.D., a trailblazing oncologist who developed groundbreaking therapies for childhood leukemia and came to be recognized as a founding father of modern clinical cancer research, passed away peacefully in Houston at his beloved institution, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, on Feb. 1. He was 93.” the statement read.
Freireich, who was a faculty member of MD Anderson for 50 years, is described as confident, passionate, and ferocious.
He is recognized for his commitment to conquering cancer and his impact on cancer research and treatment.
“Dr. Freireich was a giant of modern medicine whose impact on the field of cancer is beyond compare. His passing will be felt around the world and within the MD Anderson community,” MD Anderson president Dr. Peter W.T. Pisters said. “For more than 60 years, he pushed boundaries and devoted himself to saving young lives and relieving suffering. Dr. Freireich’s compassion and empathy, with a focus on the holistic needs of individual patients, was fused with scientific creativity and perseverance. This rare blend of exceptional qualities has created a lasting legacy that will forever be part of the history of cancer research and that of MD Anderson.”
Freireich is remembered and praised by colleagues, referring to him as “the father of modern leukemia therapy,” for his courage to confront leukemia and make revolutionary medical and scientific advances.
“We mourn his passing, but his legacy will live forever,” Pisters said. “How fortunate are we to have had Dr. Freireich as part of our MD Anderson family for five decades. His wisdom, passion and exacting standards set a bar for all of us to emulate in our ongoing efforts to end cancer.”
According to MD Anderson, Freireich is survived by his wife and his children. He will also be remembered by his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the Freireichs would appreciate donations made to MD Anderson in his honor.