- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - A vascular surgeon who gained national and international acclaim as one of the pioneers in organ transplantation has died at the age of 87.

Dr. John J. Bergan died Wednesday in Chicago, 50 years after he performed the first kidney transplant at what is now Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He founded the Division of Vascular Surgery at Northwestern University’s medical school and wrote what is considered one of the most authoritative books on the circulatory system.

His son-in-law, Drew Davis, announced his death Friday. He says Dr. Bergan died from complications of a neurological illness.

A longtime Northwestern colleague called Dr. Bergan a “pioneer and a visionary vascular surgeon.” Dr. William Pearce added it’s unlikely any vascular surgeon in the United States does not know of Dr. Bergan’s contributions to medicine.