In Memoriam: Chris Heyns 1949 – 2014

07 August 2014

It is a great loss to urology and with enormous regret that we report the death of Professor Chris Heyns on August 2, 2014 at the age of 65. He was an extremely inspiring colleague, friend and academic leader. He made an enormous contribution to urology, in particular in the field of functional urology and it was an honour to work with him as co-chair of the International Consultation on urethral strictures.

No matter how busy Chris Heyns was in his practice, he always had time to help and advise a fellow urologist.

Chris had a wide interest in music and literature and subsequently went to Stellenbosch University as a student. The hospital where he subsequently practiced, Tygerberg Hospital, was being built. As an undergraduate he was awarded the prize in urology. After training he worked in South West Africa and by chance met a friend who he had been at school with and was doing urology.  He started a career in general practice but decided it was not for him and decided to pursue a career in urology. He subsequently spent one year in Edinburgh with Professor Chisholm.  He was appointed as Associate Professor at Tygerberg Hospital and in 1995 was appointed as Head of Department at that institution.  It is in his academic Department of Urology at Stellenbosch University that he enriched the careers of countless medical students and Urology registrars. He taught with wisdom, passion and patience and not only equipped his students with knowledge and clinical skills, but also integrity and honesty, through his example.

Over the course of his career, Prof. Heyns made an immeasurable contribution to Urology – not only in South Africa as President of the Urology College of the College of Surgeons in South Africa, serving as president for many years up until the present, but also the broader international urological community.  Prof. Heyns also served as President of the South African Urological Association and  President of the Société Internationale d’Urologie (SIU).

Prof. Heyns was an eminent urologist who was widely known for his wisdom, courtesy and tireless dedication to improve urology worldwide. Prof. Heyns will be missed dearly by all who knew him, and will be remembered for his commitment to international urology and his passion for politics and literature.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence… As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons; speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others… With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.” – Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann, 1927 (one of Chris Heyns’ favourite passages)

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