Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, known as the "father of transplantation" for his pioneering work on liver transplants at the University of Colorado, died Saturday at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 90, according to The New York Times.

Starzl performed the first successful liver transplant at CU in 1967 after several previous attempts failed beginning in 1963. Those early attempts at what was then known as Colorado General Hospital were both a “test of endurance” and “a curious exercise in brutality," the Times quoted Starzl as saying.

In the late 1970s, Starzl also helped investigate the use of the drug cyclosporine to help patients who had received transplants avoid rejection of the implanted organs by their body's immune system. That work was done at CU and other universities.

During his years in Colorado, Starzl also was director of surgery at the Denver Veterans Administration Hospital from 1962 to 1972, according to his biography.

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