9 April 2003

Dr. Carlo Urbani "A Hero -- in Best and Truest Sense of Word" Says Secretary-General, in Message to Memorial Service

NEW YORK, 8 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the memorial service for Dr. Carlo Urbani, delivered on his behalf by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator, Jordan Ryan, in Hanoi, 8 April:

Dr. Carlo Urbani dedicated his life to helping protect and save the lives of others. It was characteristic of his vigilance, professionalism and expertise that he was instrumental in ensuring an early response by the international community to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Had it not been for his recognition that the outbreak of the virus was something out of the ordinary, many more would have fallen victim to SARS. It was the cruelest of ironies that he lost his own life to SARS while seeking to safeguard others from the disease.

Today, my thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go to Dr. Urbani's wife, Giuliana Chiorrini, his children, family, friends and colleagues. I hope you will know that he will be missed greatly by his other family too -- the United Nations family -- and that he leaves an inspiring legacy among the global public health community as a whole. I also hope you will know that for his contribution on the front lines of the fight against disease, he will be remembered as a hero -- in the best and truest sense of the word.

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