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James 'Red' Duke, Renowned Surgeon and TV Doc, Dies at 86

Image: James 'Red' Duke, Renowned Surgeon and TV Doc, Dies at 86
(UT Health/YouTube)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 09:16 AM

Dr. James "Red" Duke, known for his nationally syndicated "Dr. Red Health Reports" TV show and his colorful, cowboy persona, died Tuesday. He was 86.

Duke was a surgeon and professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center and Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, KHOU-TV reported. Along with his television career, the renowned trauma surgeon was best known for treating Texas Gov. John Connally at Parkland Hospital in Dallas the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

"To countless colleagues, friends, and patients, he was a skilled physician, innovative healthcare provider, exceptional communicator, and dedicated conservationist," Duke's family said in a statement, according to KHOU-TV.

"We, however, mourn him as a caring father, grandfather, and devoted brother who will be deeply missed by his family."

Dr. Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, president of University of Texas Health and dean of the UT Health Medical School, told KHOU-TV that Duke was a one-of-a-kind medical leader.

"Dr. Duke was a true pioneer — a talented and tireless surgeon, a dedicated and inspiring educator, and a friend and mentor to everyone he met," Colasurdo said.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Duke had been in declining health for the past year and died of natural causes at Memorial Hermann.

"Red was a true pioneer in medicine for our community — a visionary in trauma care, a dedicated doctor, a superb educator, the larger-than-life figure that everyone knew," Dan Wolterman, president of Memorial Hermann Health System, told the Chronicle.

"His personality was so contagious. You couldn't help but like Red and want to engage him in conversation. He was everyone's friend."

Along with his stint on syndicated television, Duke's cowboy-hat wearing, country persona was the inspiration for the fictional television series "Buck James" in 1987, a show that starred Dennis Weaver. The actor reportedly shadowed Duke for two weeks to help create the character.

Duke also hosted the PBS series "Bodywatch," according to the Chronicle.

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Dr. James "Red" Duke, known for his nationally syndicated "Dr. Red Health Reports" TV show and his colorful, cowboy persona, died Tuesday. He was 86.
james red duke, doctor, tv, surgeon, dies
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2015-16-27
Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 09:16 AM
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