In Memoriam: Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Medicine Fellows Pay Tribute to David O. Taylor, MD, FACC

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This tribute begins with an apology. We would like to apologize to those of you who never had the opportunity to meet David O. Taylor, MD, FACC.

A tall, thin man from New Mexico, he had a warm, yet slightly mischievous smile, and a guffaw that will never be forgotten. You could not miss him – he was the man wearing the green scrub shirt, tucked into khaki cargos with dress shoes.

If you are member of HFSA, ISHLT or a part of the Cleveland Clinic Alumni, you have already heard about Taylor's untimely passing. You will also know about his stature in the world of cardiology – he served as a former president of the ISHLT, was the longtime director of the Advanced Heart Failure Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, and was named a top cardiologist by Forbes magazine.

What these accomplishments fail to capture are the qualities that made Taylor so singularly unique to the hundreds of cardiology fellows he trained.

A master clinician, mentor, teacher and role model, Taylor was our idol. We recognize that it is unusual to strive to emulate so many aspects of a single person; however, Taylor was the friend, colleague, physician, parent and spouse we now strive to be.

He was the smartest person in the room, though he went out of his way to hide this. Taylor had a knack for knowing his audience, always answering questions with the wisest, yet simplest and clearest of answers.

He exhibited a striking degree of humility in all aspects of his life, never dominating a conversation and always making you believe your input was valuable. A giant of cardiology, yet he made his trainees feel empowered and in charge.

Among the tributes echoed over and over is that Taylor had an inner peace. Many have remarked that he taught us how to be excellent physicians and consummate educators, but also how to have work-life balance.

It did not really matter for how long you had the honor of knowing Taylor, as he always made you feel recognized and valued. He was a man of unprecedented intelligence, humility and kindness – a calm, soothing and sensible voice who earned the respect and affection of all who knew him.

Taylor saved the lives of countless heart failure patients and brought dignity to those he could not save.

Patients first. Fellows second. Self later.

As we gathered to mourn the loss of our idol and celebrate his impact, one of the fellows remembered recently seeing him and proclaiming with excitement, "I'm rotating on heart failure with you next week, Dr. Taylor. We are going to fly!"

Taylor gave his usual chuckle and replied, "Well, I'm going to fly no matter what. Hopefully you can keep up!"

In our world, Taylor soared above the rest.

Thank you, Dr. Taylor, for being an incredible role model. We hope to always honor you by continuing to promote your ideals and values of compassion, humility, integrity, scholarship and mentorship.

It is with the deepest admiration that we commit ourselves to carrying on your legacy.

This article was authored by the Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Medicine Fellows and all those who Dr. Taylor inspired from afar. The full text of this article was reviewed and approved by Dr. Taylor's family prior to publication.