It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of Eurotransplant’s vice president and long-time board member Prof. Dr. Xavier Rogiers. Xavier died last Wednesday night, November 20, surrounded by his family. After being diagnosed with malignancy last summer, and having undergone intensive treatment, we all hoped that he was on the way to good recovery. But alas, it was not to be.
To do justice to the many-sided person and the impressive career of Xavier Rogiers would take many a page. But summing up some of the highlights may give a good impression of his numerous achievements. Born and raised in the West-Flemish town of Ieper, he had his medical education in Leuven (Belgium). His training in surgery and obstetrics culminated in a doctorate degree with magna cum laude distinction (1982). Additional surgical fellowships in hepatobiliary and transplant surgery brought him to Paris, Glasgow, London and Chicago, to name but a few places. During these years Xavier showed himself to be a true pioneer in the development of hepatobiliary surgery and in particular liver transplantation. He made important contributions to living-donor liver transplantation, and split-liver transplantation. After his fellowship in Chicago (1989-1990), he came to the prominent liver transplant center of Hamburg-Eppendorf (Germany), where he became medical director of the Transplant Center and was appointed professor ordinarius at the Hamburg University (2001). In 2006 Xavier Rogiers returned to his native Belgium to hold the chair of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Ghent and become Head of the Transplant Center at the University Medical Center (UZ Gent). In that busy and responsible position, he still found time to contribute to the first full facial transplant (2012), and the first uterus transplant (2018) in Belgium. Besides his passion for cutting-edge transplant surgery and research, Xavier throughout his career demonstrated a dedication to education and also played a prominent role in international professional cooperation, as is witnessed by his leadership in ELITA, ESOT and ESA, as well as the European Regional Association of the International Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Association (E-AHPBA).
In his capacity as board member and vice president of Eurotransplant, Xavier made invaluable contributions to setting quality standards in liver and intestinal transplantation and allocation (ELIAC), developing the all-important data registry, and lately, having intense debate and negotiation on the new Eurotransplant governance structure. His presence in these meetings, quiet but always attentive, with a focus on constructive debate and realistic solutions, earned him the admiration and support of many, both in and outside Eurotransplant. We will remember him as a good friend, a wise advisor, a tireless supporter of cooperation, earnest and unpretentious in character and with a big heart and humanity towards all who had the privilege to work with him.
With Xavier’s demise we have lost a dear friend: he will be sorely missed by many.
Bruno Meiser, President Eurotransplant
Peter Branger, General Director