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Henry Heimlich, 96

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Best known for the antichoking maneuver that bore his name, Heimlich was a thoracic surgeon, professor, inventor and showman.

"If your peers understand what you’ve done, you are not being creative."

- Henry Heimlich
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Heimlich developed the Heimlich maneuver, a sharp abdominal squeeze from behind to clear a choking victim’s airway, in 1974. To spread word about the technique, he embarked on a media crusade, personally alerting newspapers to his research and making several television appearances. Here, he performs the maneuver on Johnny Carson during a 1979 episode of “The Tonight Show.”

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It’s unknown how many lives have been saved by the Heimlich maneuver, demonstrated in this photo, but the American Medical Association estimates thousands each year. Heimlich used the method himself in May to rescue an 87-year-old woman who was choking on food at their senior living center.

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Heimlich, right, was one of the 1984 winners of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards for developing the Heimlich maneuver. Over his career, Heimlich pioneered several medical treatments, including a chest drain valve for surgery that was used to treat soldiers in the Vietnam War and is still used today.

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