BRAZIL: Ivo Pitanguy, a plastic surgeon renowned for his celebrity patients and for turning Brazil into a beauty surgery mecca, died Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, a hospital spokesman said. He was 93.
A cultural icon in a country famous for keeping up its looks, Pitanguy improved the looks of scores of famous people, many of whom stayed on his island of Angra dos Reis in Rio de Janeiro state.
Celebrities that went under Pitanguy's knife reportedly included Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida. Pitanguy however always kept his list of patients secret.
Just Friday, Pitanguy -- in a wheelchair -- briefly carried the Olympic torch ahead of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at Maracana stadium.
"Ivo Pitanguy died today at 17H30 (20H30 GMT) from a heart attack at home in Gavea," a posh Rio neighborhood, said clinic spokeswoman Patricia Sallum.
The Minas Gerais native was to have his remains cremated on Sunday, she said.
Pitanguy authored hundreds of publications in his field and trained scores of young plastic surgeons.
He helped put Brazil on the map as a plastic surgery "destination," and likely helped pave the way to acceptance of the medical tourism industries booming in many nations around the world.
Though he enjoyed his fabulous wealth, Pitanguy also took time out to operate for free on thousands of poor women unable to pay to fix major burns and facial deformities.