Pre-eminent USC cancer researcher Brian Henderson dies at 77
Dr. Brian E. Henderson, former dean of the Keck School of Medicine from 2004 to 2007, devoted his life to cancer research and cancer prevention.
He died of lung cancer on June 20, 2015.
was 77. (Courtesy of Keck School of Medicine
Dr. Brian E. Henderson, a towering figure in American medicine and former dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, died Saturday after a 13-month battle with lung cancer.
When President Richard Nixon declared a War on Cancer the second leading cause of death in the United States in 1971, Henderson left his career as a virology researcher to battle a disease that eventually took his life.
eventually became one of the worlds most respected authorities in cancer epidemiology, the study of how the disease spreads and can be controlled.
specialized in how environment and genetics contribute to cancer and is often cited for his
research on how diet could reduce cancer risk.
Henderson was an intellectual force of nature who had many gifts to share both through science and in simple acts of kindness, said Dr. Stephen Gruber, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The world is truly a better place because of Brian Henderson
, Gruber said in an email.
Henderson was dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC from 2004 to 2007 and was a founding chair of the schools Department of Preventative Medicine.
He was a founding member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and also served as its director when it opened in 1983.
Amy Lee, associate director for basic research at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, called Henderson a visionary who saw talent in people when they didnt see it themselves.
Henderson, a UC Berkeley graduate who later earned a medical degree from the University of Chicago Medical School, loved the Giants and San Francisco 49ers.
respect for Trojan football grew over the 40 years that he
spent going to USC games, his
family wrote on a memorial website.
had a great passion for family and loved to gather his
family around him, particularly at the holidays, his
five children wrote.
favorite annual event was the familys Thanksgiving celebration at their home in Wawona, in Yosemite National Park.
Henderson is survived by his wife, Judith; his five children; and 11 grandchildren.
family will celebrate his
life at 11 a.m. Friday at Holy Family Church
in South Pasadena.