Christiaan Neethling Barnard (1922-2001) was a heart surgeon from South-Africa, who became known worldwide in 1967 for performing the world's very first open heart transplantation on one of his patients, in the Groote Schuur Hospital in Capetown, South-Africa. The patient, a middle-aged man, survived the operation and lived for three more weeks. Barnard continued to improve his operation methods and had increasing success.
Christiaan Barnard died whilst on holiday in Paphos, Cyprus. Early reports claimed that he had died of a heart attack, although an autopsy showed that he died as the result of an acute asthma attack.