WHO director-general dies

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 12, 2006

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Dr. Jong-Wook Lee, World Health Organization director-general, died May 22. He was 61.

"The loss of Dr. Lee carries profound repercussions for the international public health community," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Assn.

The South Korean native died in Geneva after emergency surgery for a blood clot in the brain. He started his career with WHO in 1983 as a consultant on Hansen's disease in the South Pacific. He had been director-general for two years.

During his tenure, WHO achieved the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first international public health treaty, and led the health response to avian influenza, the Asian tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake.

"Dr. Lee has been the positive force needed to draw the attention of the world and its leaders to emerging threats," said Elias A. Zerhouni, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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