The University of Ottawa Heart Institute family mourns the loss of a true visionary, pioneer and leader

April 8, 2019

It is with profound sadness that we say goodbye to Dr. Wilbert Keon, founder of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute who passed away peacefully on April 7, 2019 surrounded by his loved ones. It was in May 1976, after many years of tireless dedication and hard work that the Heart Institute opened its doors. 

Dr. Keon dreamed of an institute that would provide the highest standard of cardiac care to the Ottawa community and beyond. His vision resulted in the world class Ottawa Heart Institute, which is recognized internationally as a centre of excellence combining cutting edge cardiac care, research, and education. We have continued to honour this vision as we opened our new tower at the Heart Institute last year. 

“Together with the Heart Institute staff including those who worked alongside him for decades, I pledge that we will live up to his legacy, and his dream to continue building and growing his beloved Institute,” said Dr. Thierry Mesana, President and CEO. “This is a colossal task as he has touched so many of our lives as a surgeon, as a mentor, as a community leader, and as a friend.”

Dr. Keon will be sorely missed by all. He was true to his dream, and we will remain true to his legacy and spirit. 

Dr. Keon’s love for, and pride in, his Heart Institute were surpassed only by his love for, and pride in, his family. Anne, his wife of 59 years, was a partner in everything he achieved. Their daughter Claudia and her husband Mark Field live in England and are parents to Jack (20), Chris (15), Ethan (14) and Sean (8). Their son Neil and his wife Debbie Loeb live in Dallas and are parents to Sam (9) and Rosie (3). Their son Ryan and his wife Cindy Tomlinson live here in Ottawa and are parents to William (19) and Emily (17). 

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Heart Institute, the Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, and the Heart Institute family, we offer them all our deepest condolences.

For more information, please contact: 

Andrée Dumulon
Chief Communications Officer
Vice-President, Public Affairs
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
(613) 696-7000 ext 14850
(613) 899-6465 (Cell)