Retired West Virginia University medical school professor and renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Herbert Warden died Monday (Jan. 14). Warden, of Morgantown, was 81.

“He was a giant of modern medicine,”said Dr. Robert DAlessandri, Dean of the WVU School of Medicine.”There are not many people left in medicine like that.”

Warden helped make medical history in 1954 when he was a member of the surgical team that performed the worlds first successful open heart surgery. He came to WVU in 1960 to join the staff of the newly formed WVUMedicalCenter.

Warden had a huge impact on the development of the WVU School of Medicine, DAlessandri said. He began WVU s open heart surgery program, established the cardiothoracic surgery training program and served as a professor of surgery.

Warden garnered several awards during his career, including the prestigious Albert and Mary Lasker Award for Medical Research from the American Public Health Association, a Citation of Merit from the American Medical Association and the Order of Vandalia Award from WVU the Universitys highest honor for service.

Visitation for Warden will be held from 3-5 and 7-9 p.m. Thursday at Hastings Funeral Home in Morgantown, and on Friday at the Suncrest United Methodist Church where the body will lie in state from noon until the time of service at 1 p.m.

Warden is survived by his wife, Audrey, two daughters and two sons.